These days, Ang Lee is generally regarded as one of the most well-respected and acclaimed directors working in film – well, before Taking Woodstock, anyway. But a decade ago, he hadn't yet made Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, his commercial breakthrough – although Sense and Sensibility was an arthouse hit - and was essentially one of many promising talents who made interesting films that attracted critics and awards but had audiences staying away in droves.
To be fair, I'd been a fan of his since Eat Drink Man Woman, a film which I still count among my favorites of all time, and was rapturously in love with The Ice Storm. But I admit that until very recently, albeit perhaps not without good reason, I never saw Ride With the Devil. The truth is that very few people did, at least during its theatrical run. But thanks to a glorious (as the rest of theirs) new Blu-ray from the good folks at Criterion, I finally watched the film, specifically to see whether it was unjustly forgotten or absolutely worth getting. Hence, this week's "Shelf Life."