|Year Released||1995||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||98:03 Minutes||Other Extras||None|
|RRP||$34.95||Music||James Newton Howard|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Dolby Digital||5.1|
|16x9 Enhancement||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 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|
Paul Armstrong (Sean Connery) is a Harvard law professor, and the film opens with him delivering his side of a debate about the good and bad of capital punishment to a group of students. After the debate is concluded, he is approached by Evangeline (Ruby Dee), who tells him that her son, Bobby Earl (Blair Underwood), is on Death Row in Florida, awaiting execution. According to the story of the officials, he killed a young girl after sexually assaulting her. According to Bobby himself, he only confessed to this appalling crime after being beaten and denied the chance to relieve himself for more than twenty hours. Complicating the matter is the presence of Blair Sullivan (Ed Harris), who supposedly committed the murder for which Bobby is awaiting execution. Armstrong's wife, Laurie (Kate Capshaw) has a personal interest in the case, because she was involved in trying Bobby over a previous incident in which he was charged with kidnapping a small girl. This, of course, is why she manages to talk Armstrong into investigating the case in spite of his initial refusal due to the fact that he hasn't practised law for a quarter of a century. Being that this murder took place in a small Florida town, Armstrong is met with a generally hostile reception from Detective Tanny Brown (Laurence Fishburne) and the general public.
Now that I have laid out which character is motivated by what, I don't want to go any further, as telling you much more about the film will spoil it (except to say that it is rather odd that Evangeline does not appear again in the film at all once Armstrong has agreed to investigate her son's case). Just Cause is not exactly a film that you will want to return to again and again, but it is definitely worthy of watching once. Sean Connery has certainly appeared in better films, as has Laurence Fishburne, but it is enjoyable enough if you don't know what is going to happen next. The only major surprise in the film is a surprise because it is not something you would think of immediately, much like 16x9 enhancement. Personally, I am very much against capital punishment, for reasons that would mostly sound insane and incoherent in the context of this review. This film is neither pro-capital punishment nor anti-capital punishment, but it does argue the case of the latter quite well. The overall plot of this film leads me to recommend that you rent this title first, as do some aspects of the transfer, which I will get into right about now...
MPEG artefacts were absent from this presentation, although it was hard to tell at some points in the film. Film-to-video artefacts were simply horrendous, with aliasing coming in from all of the usual culprits: menswear, car grilles, water, and even some grilles found within the prison. What was more worrying than the amount of spots on the film that were prone to aliasing was the extent to which it was present. There was no scene in the middle of the film that was free from this artefact in at least fifty percent of the shots used to comprise the sequences. Some telecine wobble also became apparent during the scene in which Armstrong visits Sullivan's old home. Film artefacts were also apparent in a greater amount than I would have liked, although they were mostly confined to a small ten-minute space in the middle of the film.
This disc is presented in the RSDL format, with the layer change coming in at 48:45. This is not the best place for the layer change, as it is right in the middle of a conversation. It is, however, quite quick and only minimally disruptive to the overall flow of the film.
I had forgotten that the music in this film was composed by James Newton Howard, whose other credits include The Devil's Advocate, until just now. This should show you how memorable I found the score. Howard seems unable to make up his mind whether he is scoring for a drama, a thriller, an action film, or for a documentary about the Florida Everglades. There is exciting and tense music ready to accompany the appropriate moments in the film, but it otherwise seems to fall flat. Your opinion of this film's scoring may differ, however.
The surround channels were effectively, but unremarkably used to support the ambient sounds of the Florida Everglades and other such special effects. The music also crept into the surrounds just a little, but this was mostly just a stereo mix with some surround elements. The subwoofer was mostly unnoticed, although I am sure it made the occasional thump to support the sound of a car making a landing.
The video quality is acceptable, but distinctly average.
The audio quality is good, but nowhere near as good as it could have been.
Extras and Warner Brothers into DVD does not go.
|DVD||Grundig GDV 100 D, using composite output; Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output|
|Display||Panasonic TC-29R20 (68 cm), 4:3 mode, using composite input; Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm), 16:9 mode/4:3 mode, using composite and S-video inputs|
|Audio Decoder||Built In (Amplifier)|
|Speakers||Panasonic S-J1500D Front Speakers, Sharp CP-303A Back Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Subwoofer|