Plot: What’s it about?
New York City has hosted some brutal heat waves, but this one is one of the more intense ones in recent memory. As the heat blazes down on the inhabitants, things also heat up for a group of ten people within the urban landscape. These people have different desires, but they all connect back to sexual gratification. A young virgin (Condola Rashad) seeks a satisfying first time with an experienced lover (Justin Kirk), who has his own love troubles. He wants to fall in love, but is unable to do so, so he goes to a therapist for advice. But the therapist has her own issues, as her relationship has hit a roadblock since she discovered her significant other has fallen for someone else. But the objective of his affection is drawn to her own interest, a massage therapist who refuses her advances, due to his feelings for another woman. As if this wasn’t enough, his girlfriend has been unfaithful and is pursued by a relationship driven man, who then finds comfort with a dominatrix. And of course, the dominatrix faces her own personal struggles, as she desires to have a child. As the heat wave burns on, will any of these people discover what they’re after and as their lives intertwine, will things only become more complicated?
Based on the marketing, you would assume 30 Beats is all about sex and jam packed with sex scenes. In truth, a lot of the film is about sex, but more about what causes it to happen and what occurs after sex takes place. So more of a thinly veiled relationship piece than a wild sexual marathon, to say the least. But that isn’t a bad thing in this case. 30 Beats has a notable cast, with names like Justin Kirk, Jennifer Tilly, Paz de la Huerta, Lee Pace, and others that really bring the characters to life. Or as well as they can, given that the script is stretched between ten central roles. This means a lot of the content is surface based, but there is some depth within some of the interactions. And the weaving of the threads in and out of each other is one thing 30 Beats does well, if it relies heavily on coincidence. So while it isn’t as hot and heavy as it wants you to believe, 30 Beats is an interesting drama with a solid cast, so it is worth a look.
Video: How does it look?
30 Beats is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The movie looks good here, with a treatment that allows the visuals to come through with minimal issues. The image is clean, so detail is strong and overall depth is fine. No one will mistake this for an HD presentation, but it looks quite good. The colors tend to be more dark and natural in scope, while contrast performs at a consistent, accurate level. Not much else to discuss here, the movie looks good.
Audio: How does it sound?
This movie isn’t an audio powerhouse, but the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is solid. The surrounds don’t exactly roar in this one, but there is some activity when needed, usually from the music. So the music sounds good and adds life, but for the most part, dialogue rules this roost. The vocals sound clear and never hard to understand, so that is good news. The other elements come across well also, but the overall sound design is reserved. This disc also includes English and Spanish subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes the film’s theatrical trailer.