Masturbation makes you drool and eventually go blind. Well, it did, until Alfred Kinsey came along.
For a film with a budget of ten million dollars, I'd say they pulled this one off exceptionally well, and the DVD is no exception (excuse the pun). Despite the drama surrounding Alfred Kinsey—he's been called a child-molester and a Nazi—by all indications, film-wise, he was a remarkable fellow, and as Karina has already stated, could very well be responsible for the sexual development of our society, leading all the way to Paris Hilton.
The film took over three years to get off the ground, and I recall seeing some shots on location clogging up the street near my favorite bar in New York in '02 or '03. I even got a glimpse of Liam Neeson, although as I was trapped inside the bar while they worked out some lighting issues, the whiskey might have impaired my visual acuity.
The ensemble cast is genuinely ensemble. As the characters, prompted by Kinsey's increasingly experimental research, drift away from their conventions, they maintain a delicate balance of calm and calamity. Director Bill Condon notes that Peter Sarsgaard, Chris O'Donnell, and Timothy Hutton—as Kinsey's assistants—were all cast for their ability to look like the average man, but the unraveling of their convention is a highlight of the film. Liam Neeson's portrayal of Alfred Kinsey sinks into your consciousness as truth, and even better, he's far more attractive than the actual man (we get to see a few pictures of the real Kinsey in the bonus material). Condon clips in bits of Kinsey's extraordinarily complex research so delicately that it almost makes one want to pick up a book on statistics, and the lighting, framing, and theme of "squares" as a reference to Kinsey's interest in cataloging human diversity is subtle and effective.
The DVD is a two-disc set, and the bonus features are worthy of the second disc. There's a short documentary on the making of Kinsey, which repeats the budget-constraint mantra often ("We kind of had the budget of a very big commercial"), but it's interspersed with actors answering questions from the actual Kinsey questionnaire, candidly and, in the case of Peter Sarsgaard, with much charm. Bill Condon gets a lot of screen time, as does Laura Linney, and a handful of boom operators and lighting technicians—it's a very good overview of the film's production, and the history of the man. (Compared to the sexual habits of Hollywood-types, losing my virginity at the age of 16 wasn't as big of a deal as my parents said it was.)
Another fun extra is the interactive sex questionnaire, which I took. It turns out I'm medium-to-high on with regards to arousal, and don't like sex in public places. Not anything I didn't know already, but it'd be a fun quiz to take with friends, or anyone you're trying to get in the sack. The gag reel is what gag reels always are for dramatic films: clumsy montages of actors goofing around on set, but nothing worth more than a chuckle or two. Lots of flubbing of language by Oliver Platt, who's performance in the film is typically Platt-esque, but I have to say he's perfectly cast. The "visit" to the Kinsey Institute is, um, explicit and informative, but darn it, they blurred out some of the pictures and frankly it's too short and feels a little bit like an outtake.
Quick and dirty summation: excellent film, excellent DVD set. Totally deserving of all it's Golden Globe nominations. An option to watch the film with director commentary or a in-depth interview with a cast member (cough cough...Liam) would've been nice, but the mini-doc suffices nicely.