|Year Released||1991||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||181:06 minutes||Other Extras||None|
|Region||2, 4||Director||Oliver Stone|
Warner Home Video
Tommy Lee Jones
Jay O Sanders
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||No||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Dolby Digital||2.0|
||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 2.0 ,
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Okay, so I have never believed the official line that Lee Harvey Oswald (Gary Oldman) acted alone in the assassination, for the simple reason that there are so many inconsistencies in that official line. Just about every single one of those inconsistencies has been ruthlessly exposed by Oliver Stone, utilizing whatever actual evidence is available, combined with a lot of supposition. Whilst the intent here is not to tell you who did assassinate John F. Kennedy, it is doubtful that anyone watching the film could not at least rethink what is presented here. Was it a conspiracy hatched in the highest echelons of the government and the military and kept very quiet until long after the participants will be dead - I for one have always believed so, and this film certainly provides the explanation for why, if not the who. Does it matter? That is the precise point of the film - if we cannot have the fortitude to face the truth no matter how bitter the taste, then what hope is there for any belief in the underlying principals of democracy. Unfortunately, this is a film that makes no apologies (and nor should it) for confronting in a very direct way these thoughts. Oliver Stone created a masterpiece that in no small way should be remembered come 2029 (or later) when, under the current laws of the United States, the official documents relating to the Kennedy assassination will (should?) start to be released into the public domain - and when we all hopefully finally learn the truth.
In creating the masterpiece, Stone has brought together a quite distinguished ensemble cast led by Kevin Costner that wrings just about everything it possibly can out of a quite superb script. Making great use of available public material blended with new film material, this film is a stunning, albeit somewhat controversial, poke at what the Warren Report (the official investigation of the assassination) so obviously glossed over. A important film that you need to see at least once if only to think again about what we have obviously never been told - the truth of what really happened to culminate in that fateful afternoon of November 22, 1963.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, but it is not 16x9 enhanced. The archival film used at the start of the film is presented in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio.
Ignoring the archival material, the transfer is quite sharp and pretty well defined throughout. At times it is not especially clear, but this may be a conscious effort to blend the archival material into the new film material. Shadow detail is generally quite acceptable, although not in the league of more recent transfers.
Colours are quite muted and are not overly vibrant in general, although outdoors shots certainly are treated to a more vibrant palette of colours. The colours are consistently rendered and there did not seem to be any oversaturation at all. It would seem that there has been a general effort to keep the colours reasonably well muted to suit the time period of the film.
There were some small hints of MPEG artefacts during some panning sequences, the most noticeable being a loss of image stability in an upward panning shot at 7:10. Unfortunately, the lack of anamorphic enhancement is clearly demonstrated in the numerous and consistent minor video artefacts throughout the film: Jim Garrison's glasses are especially noticeable in this regard throughout, but some of the extremely noticeable problems are at 7:48 (rooftop edges) and 9:08 (sharp edges of cars). Mostly these are reasonably minor annoyances, but their consistency throughout the film is a distraction: this simply cries out for an anamorphic transfer which would have cured most of the problems I would have thought. Film artefacts were not a significant problem during the film, and were not a distraction to the film.
Dialogue was generally clear and easy to understand throughout.
There did not seem to be any audio sync problems with the transfer.
The music score comes from the best in the business currently in John Williams and a decidedly evocative soundtrack it is, that backs up the film very well indeed.
There is not a lot of use of the surround channels in the soundtrack, but what there is is well balanced and natural sounding. Since the film is so much dialogue dependent, the lack of huge surround effects is not unduly noticed. The dialogue does come out a little front and centre, but otherwise it is a quite decent sound picture. There is no use made of the bass channel. Hardly an audio highlight then, but you will not be bothered too much by that.
Overall video quality is acceptable for a non-anamorphic transfer.
Overall audio quality is acceptable.
Extras - sit down and cry for what we really needed but did not get.
© Ian Morris
26th October 1999
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515; S-video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm|
|Audio Decoder||Built in|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|