Don't misunderstand me--this movie IS the tour de force that others have expounded on here already--and I love it as much as anyone, ranking it right up there with Chinatown as an L.A. film noir classic. But you will NOT see the movie Curtis Hanson made if you watch this widescreen DVD edition!!
I have watched this movie countless times on videotape and so I was SHOCKED to find that the DVD noticably detracted from what this film is! Though the back of the DVD case details "WIDESCREEN VERSION Presented in a "letterbox" widescreen format preserving the SCOPE ASPECT RATIO of its original theatrical exhibition", I did NOT find this to be true (and I am no newcomer to widescreen format). Shots that had appeared as medium shots on video have become head shots--people are now out of frame--this is a CHANGED film! --and WEIRD things also occur with the soundtrack! Dialogue is mixed at a noticably lower level relative to background and peripheral noises that are overly augmented.
I have to say, it boggles my mind that watching this movie in the "newest and most improved" format has, for the first time, left me feeling like I watched 2 entirely different movies. There is an artistic freedom being threatened here by what is ultimately a revisionist medium, the implications of which are truly frightening--and oddly parallel to current world events.
In all fairness, I haven't even gotten to the special features, and maybe this DVD is worth having for those rarities themselves, I don't know. But if you have never watched this extraordinary film, I beg you, SEEK IT OUT ON VHS! or you will miss the experience. If you love this film already, be prepared for a letdown with this one.