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Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio and Animation
Listing - Cast and Crew
Audio Commentary - Oliver Stone (Director)
Notes - Awards
|Running Time||197:17 minutes|
|RSDL/Flipper||Disc 1: RSDL (98:58)
Disc 2: No/No
Warner Home Video
Tommy Lee Jones
Jay O. Sanders
|Case||Black Dual Alpha|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||No||English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384
Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||
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
The above words were those I scribed many moons ago with respect to the original release of JFK in Region 4. To be honest I cannot see much point in changing them, for the basic fundamental of an obvious conspiracy in the assassination continues to hold true, and probably shall until those documents are released starting (hopefully) in 2029. However, I should perhaps stress very clearly that this is not an explanation of what happened on that fateful day in Dallas, but rather a provocative exercise in "what if?", taking as the starting point some of the inconsistencies and omission in the principal document regarding the assassination in the Warren Report.
Oliver Stone has made some gems in his time, although he does not seem to garner the praise he deserves. JFK is a typical example - it has been more pilloried that praised, mainly by people who completely misunderstood the point of the film. This is not an explanation of who did it, nor was it ever intended to be an explanation of how they did it, but rather a valiant attempt to question the official line of dubious facts that have been the staple of the assassination. Until the truth is finally known, then we should all have the fortitude to question our governments, for until they are truthful to the people, we do not have true democracy.
And if you want a simple answer as to why I do not believe the line that Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated John F Kennedy and acted alone, it is in that one single picture contained in the film of the dead president. You explain to me how the back of his head is missing if he was shot from the rear, as he would have to have been if he were shot from the book repository? Surely the front of his head would suffer such damage from a bullet penetration from the rear?
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and it is 16x9 enhanced - unlike the earlier release of the film on DVD. 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. Clarity is generally pretty good, although you should note that some material has been given a deliberately grainy appearance so as to blend in with archival material and to convey a sort of detached, 1960s view of what is going on. Shadow detail is generally quite acceptable, although not in the league of more recent transfers. There did not appear to be any low level noise problems in the transfer.
Colours are quite muted and are not overly vibrant in general, although outdoor 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. Black and white tones are pretty well defined in general, although some archival material (or material tricked up to look archival) does not have really great tonal separation. Blacks could perhaps have been a little deeper in tone, but 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 and to tie in with the archival material. There did not appear to be any colour bleed issues in the transfer.
There were some small hints of MPEG artefacts during some panning sequences, but nothing really worthwhile getting too upset about - and the fact that it may well be source-related mitigates in favour of the mastering. The big difference between the old transfer and this new anamorphically enhanced transfer is the fact that film-to-video artefacts are somewhat less prevalent. There is still some aliasing around the place, mainly earlier on in the film, with examples being found at 7:49 (rooftop edges - just like the earlier transfer), 10:02 (furniture edges) and 12:15 (hat edge). There were also some very minor indications of cross colouration in Jim Garrison's suit jacket around the 33:30 mark. These remain relatively minor annoyances that are barely noticeable in the overall scheme of things. Film artefacts were not a significant problem during the film, and were not a distraction to the film.
The film itself is contained on disc one, which is
an RSDL formatted DVD, with the layer
change coming at 98:58. Whilst it is
a little noticeable, it does come at a scene change and is not really disruptive
to the flow of the film - and is so much better than the flipper formatting
of the earlier release that it is not funny. Disc two is a plain old vanilla
single layer, single sided DVD - despite what the packaging might state.
The dialogue throughout the film was generally clear and easy to understand, within the context of the film anyway. It should be noted that there is a wide range of accents and even speech on parade here and some, like that from John Candy, does take a little bit of extra attention to be truly understandable. There did not seem to be any audio sync problems with the transfer.
That name is on the film: John Williams. Look up excellence in film scoring in any book about film making and that name will be numero uno in the list of current composers. He is number one for the simple reason that he is better than everyone else and has demonstrated it repeatedly over the years. This is another of those great efforts of his, where a great theme gets a solid workout and the entire score is nicely evocative and supportive of the film. So where is the isolated music score???
Actually, I don't have much to say about the soundtrack
really. Apart from some slight disappointment at times with the bass channel
being just a little too prevalent in the mix and adding a bit of reverb
that sounds a tad unnatural, there is not much issue here with the remastered
soundtrack. It also needs to be remembered that this really is a very dialogue
driven film and there is not a huge amount of scope for a really dynamic
bass channel here. Perhaps a slightly better use of the rear surround channels
for ambience could have helped at times, but really that would be a personal
preference thing. The overall soundscape is quite natural, with a reasonably
open sound that is not at all congested.
|Surround Channel Use|
© Ian Morris (have
a laugh, check out the bio)
11th April, 2001
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515; S-video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega 80cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in|
|Amplification||Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|