The Net (1995) - Special Edition

Genre(s): Adventure / Drama / Mystery / Thriller
Columbia || PG13 - 114 minutes - $19.94 || November 25, 1998
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2005-06-08

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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Director: Irwin Winkler
Writer(s): John Brancato (written by) & Michael Ferris (written by)
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Jeremy Northam, Dennis Miller

Theatrical Release Date: July 28, 1995

Supplemental Material:
  • Director & Producer Commentary
  • Writers' Commentary
  • HBO Special: Inside The Net
  • From Script to Film Featurette
  • Theatrical Trailers

Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0), Spanish (DD 2.0), Portuguese (DD 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai

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.::THE FILM::.


The Net is a decent, though flawed, thriller starring Sandra Bullock as Angela Bennett, a young woman whose life is turned upside down after she stumbles upon a mass conspiracy that leaves an under-secretary dead and a gateway for corruption as access can be granted to any mainframe. While on vacation, Angela meets a dashing man named Devlin (Northam) who already knows everything about her as her entire life is available on the Internet. Soon enough, her identity, car and house are stolen and she must run from the people who are trying to kill her while try to get her life back.

10 years after the fact, The Net in principle, was ahead of its time. The use and abuse on the Internet has become reality as one better not log on to the Internet for fear of worms and viruses. Although none of these mass conspiracies have come to fruition (to my knowledge), it's still a dangerous virtual world out there.

But as for the movie, The Net has its moments, especially from Bullock who before this only had Speed and the Sylvestor Stallone sci-fier, Demolition Man. For her feature starring role, Bullock does a fine job as a majority of the time is spent either in front of a computer typing or running away from one place to another. Despite that, I have seen this movie several times over the years and must say that is has actually deteriated rather than improved. The plot holes or flaws are more obvious and, in terms of the final act, some parts were a letdown. Even with these reservations, The Net is still a good thriller but nothing that note-worthy.


This special edition of The Net is a vast improvement as the original one had nothing going for it (with a poor picture transfer to boot). There's not much to this disc overall, but it's better than being barebones as before.

The first commentary is with director Irwin Winkler (Rocky) and producer Rob Cowan who provide one of the more bland duo tracks I've listened to lately. For the most part, Winkler and Cowan merely telestrate what's happening on the screen, though they do manage to give some information (like the Mexican beach scenes were actually filmed in California).

The second commentary from screenwriters John Brancato and Michael Ferris is more entertaining as the two get a bit cynical when it comes to the plot as their original draft got some major rewrites. Throughout the film, they would talk about other subjects pertaining to the film when a scene comes across that they didn't write. Some might find them to be whiny (and it does come off that way), but it's refreshing to listen to some honesty on one of these tracks rather than the standard butt-kissing. The only drawback here is the lulls are fairly abundant at times so that does become annoying.

No special edition can be without the obligatory HBO Special: "Inside the Net" featurette, but what makes it worse this time is it aired in 1995 so the picture is grainy to go along with the standard interviews with the cast and crew.

Fortunately there is a second featurette named The Net: From Script to Film, a new featurette made for this DVD release with about 20-minutes worth of new interviews from Winkler, Cowan and the two scriptwriters (who aren't as honest, though one of them does mention about the changes.

Lastly, there are the standard Theatrical Trailers which are fun to watch but it also shows that we, the viewer, still haven't seen everything as there are deleted scenes out there somewhere... which brings me to my primary complaint with this release. Why no deleted scenes? In the director's commentary, Winkler mentions a scrapped chase sequence. Where is this? Was the film destroyed or are the people at Columbia planning on entering the double-dip racket?



The standard 1.85:1 aspect ratio is good (and certainly better than the original DVD release) but the sound needed some more "oomph" behind it. Since (when this DVD was released) it is a 1995 film, the sound isn't something you can get perfection from, but if Warner Bros can do a masterful job restoring Gone with the Wind, I'd expect a little better effort with the transfers.


The Net is a good, and inexpensive, DVD to have in a collection. Although it isn't a great film, it's good for a good 114 minutes of escape and will entertain well enough for years to come. I only hoped that there would be some deleted/extended scenes, but alas you'll have to wait for the inevitable "Director's Cut" that could rear its ugly head early in 2006 with the release of The Net 2.0.