Bernardo Bertolucci’s controversial Last Tango in Paris boasts a masterful performance from Marlon Brando. When released in 1972 the film was branded with an X rating (now NC-17), censored, and even banned. Though still fairly explicit, the film is somewhat tame compared to various movies that have come out since. There are still a few scenes that will make a modern audience squirm, like the infamous butter scene, but the shock value isn’t the most important thing about the film. The film is well done, well acted, and the story is strong. In fact, it’s somewhat strange to see such care put into a movie with so many explicit sex scenes. The Blu-ray contains the uncut version of the film, the way it was originally meant to be seen.

Paul (Marlon Brando) is a middle aged American living in Paris. His wife has recently killed herself, and while he is grieving, he looks for another place to live. When checking out a room he meets Jeanne (Maria Schneider) who is interested in renting the same apartment, which they soon share while having an anonymous sexual relationship. Paul insists that their personal details don’t matter, especially their names. They both live their separate lives, Paul piecing together his wife’s suicide, and Jeanne as she stars in an experimental film by her young fiancé. The apartment offers them both an escape from reality.

Brando’s performance is brilliant. He and Schneider are great on screen together, but you probably don’t need me to tell you this, the film is a classic. And now that it’s on Blu-ray, the movie looks better than ever for home viewing. The only problem with this release is the lack of bonus features. The uncut version of the film has already been released on DVD, and the only upgrade is the boost in quality to HD.

For such a controversial film, a documentary could have offered a window into the past. Viewers could have seen the impact the film had and really understood what made it so controversial upon its release. Even a few short interviews or an introduction would have sufficed. However, the film doesn’t need a fancy list of bonus features to make it worthwhile. On its own, even today, Last Tango is a powerful movie. Marlon Brando fans will probably add this to their collections, and anyone wanting to see the film in HD should at least rent it.

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