Keeping The Faith

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Details At A Glance

Category Comedy Audio Commentary - Edward Norton (Director/Producer) and Stuart Blumberg (Writer/Producer
Deleted Scenes (10)
Biographies - Cast and Crew
Year Released 2000
Running Time 124:02 minutes
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (78:42)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Selection, then Menu
Region 2,4 Director Edward Norton
Touchstone Pictures
Warner Home Video
Starring Edward Norton
Ben Stiller
Jenna Elfman
Eli Wallach
Anne Bancroft
Case Transparent Amaray
RPI $36.95 Music Elmer Bernstein

Pan & Scan/Full Frame No English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192 Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision ?Yes Smoking Yes
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, during credits

Plot Synopsis

    Well, after a succession of non-movie DVDs to review, it is a very welcome change to return to a straight movie DVD, especially as this is the sort of movie that does not exactly tax the old brain and allows you to coast along for a couple of hours in a rather pleasant way with a few good laughs thrown in. Sitting back and enjoying a decent enough film, with a cold beverage of choice at your hand is by no means the worst way of spending an evening.

    And so it was that I sat down to review Keeping The Faith. To be honest, I was not expecting too much here as about the only reason why I stuck my hand up for the DVD for review was the presence of Jenna Elfman. So when you go into a review expecting not too much, you usually end up being pleasantly surprised with the result. To a large extent, that is the situation here.

    So let me tell you about the rabbi and the priest... yes I know, rather clichéd but pretty much what the film is about actually. Jake Schram (Ben Stiller) and Brian Finn (Edward Norton) and the rabbi and the priest and this is the story of their lifelong friendship, and a young lady by the name of Anna Reilly (Jenna Elfman). Their friendship came into being through rescue from attack by Anna and they became an inseparable trio - at least until Anna moved away from New York with her parents. As childhood moved to adulthood, Brian and Jake may have had dissimilar religions but had very similar faith - and marital status. They also happen to have rather successful careers in their respective churches and have been very successful in drawing the crowds back in. Out of the blue, Anna returns to New York and the trio rekindles the old friendships. Anna has changed somewhat of course - a very successful workaholic who also happens to have grown from a tomboy into a beautiful woman, a woman whose feelings are progressively changing. And just to throw a little more cliché into the mix, we have the usual Jewish guilt and Catholic doubt.

    Whilst the story is not exactly the most original you are ever likely to see, there is just enough originality to elevate this totally above the banal. However, what really lifts the film is the performances. Ben Stiller plays his usual Jewish guilt trip to the hilt and adds a nice little twist into the life of a rabbi. Edward Norton does a similar job of the Catholic priest and they have a decent, if not spectacular, relationship here. But the standout for me is Jenna Elfman who really does a decent job as the tomboy grown up. The direction from Edward Norton is decent enough and there are some genuinely funny moments here. However, there were a few occasions when a couple more moments went begging. Still, the overall effect was pretty decent and the result is a watchable film, just not a classic.

    Quite worth the effort of a rental on this one to see whether it might be to your taste. I certainly have no complaints.

Transfer Quality


    The opening sequence to the film really sets the standard for the transfer here: a terrific opening sequence of New York at night. Unlike other such sequences seen, this one shows no real shimmer at all and comes up beautifully vibrant. It sets a nice tone for the rest of the DVD.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced. The theatrical aspect ratio was 1.85:1, so its is very close to the mark.

    Okay, nice and very simple this time. Generally extremely sharp and detailed throughout, plenty of definition, generally terrific shadow detail (other than those scenes intended to be lacking in this regard) and no real indication of grain. The only slight downer was a little overenthusiastic use of edge enhancement at times. The transfer at times demonstrates the sort of sharpness and glossy clarity of an anamorphically filmed effort, even though this is not one of those films. Overall, a very nice looking transfer indeed.

    Colours are generally excellent throughout, beautifully vibrant but still quite natural looking. The colours have a nice degree of depth to the tones and the primary colours at times are extremely vibrant. Some of the greens here are terrific. The true stature of the colours though are perhaps seen in the very nicely detailed night-time scenes of New York. I don't think that I have seen New York look quite this good before. The blacks have a really nice depth and solidity to them. There is no problem with oversaturation in the transfer. There are no problems with colour bleed in the transfer.

    There are no significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer. Unfortunately, there were a couple of instances of film-to-video artefacts in the transfer that just detracted a little from the overall excellence. There were a couple of instances of relatively minor telecine wobble at 3:07 and 23:45, whilst there were a few instances of aliasing here and there. This was mainly evident in the chain link fences, an example being at 8:50. None of the instances were really poor. There were quite a few film artefacts present throughout the transfer but they were mainly of the black variety and therefore not really disruptive to the show.

    This is an RSDL formatted DVD with the layer change coming at 78:42. This is a rather typical example of the sort of lack of thought that seems to be displayed at times in mastering of DVDs. The change comes just after seeing Jenna Elfman moving through a door that is reflected in a mirror, and the pause is slightly unnaturally long in the overall flow of the scene before she reappears in camera. As a result it is a bit obvious. However, not more than five seconds earlier, just at the scene change there was a shot of a mirror with nothing reflected in it - a perfect place to insert the change mid-scene as it would not have created an unnatural pause. Even better, given that the film and extras package is not that long compared to the capacity of a DVD, there was a perfectly natural fade to black scene change at 59:50 that would have been ideal for hiding the layer change. I would have thought it not impossible to arrange the material to accommodate such a placing.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-to-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are three soundtracks on offer on the DVD, being an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, a Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and an English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. I listened to both of the English soundtracks.

    The dialogue comes up very well in the transfer, apart from a couple of minutes in the bedroom scene with very, very low level dialogue. Apart from those few odd minutes, it is a very easy to listen to soundtrack with no problems in understanding at all. There did not appear to be any problems with audio sync in the soundtrack.

    The soundtrack comes form the rather prolific pen of Elmer Bernstein, and I found this to be a curiously understated effort indeed. At times, I certainly felt the lack of background musical accompaniment. This is not necessarily a bad thing, for rather too little than too much, but it was a very rare occasion that it was so noticeably lacking. Overall, I felt the soundtrack to be a good one without being especially memorable.

    This really is a heavily dialogue based film and it shows in the soundtrack. Whilst there is certainly some presence in the surround channels and the bass channel, it sure is not much at times. Indeed, the bass channel hardly gets any workout at all here and is generally missing in action, even though it is to be admitted that there are not a huge number of opportunities for it to come into play. Rear surround channel action is also not especially wonderful and given the setting in one of the liveliest cities on Earth, the lack of really substantial ambience at times was sorely missed. Other than that, the front soundscape is pretty decent and certainly the overall feel is of a nicely open and quite well detailed soundscape.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    Well considering that this comes from our friends at Di$ney, there is a respectable extras package on offer here!


    As is typical for Di$ney, there is nothing especially great about the menus since they lack audio and animation enhancement. They are however 16x9 enhanced.

Audio Commentary - Edward Norton (Director/Producer) and Stuart Blumberg (Writer/Producer)

    Whilst not an especially inspiring effort, and I confess to not having the fortitude to listen to every last word, it is not too bad an effort. A little more liveliness in the presentation could perhaps have helped the overall effect somewhat but the two participants provided some decent background to the film.

Deleted Scenes (10)

    You want delete scenes, you got deleted scenes! Whilst most were lopped for obvious reasons of making no contribution to the advancement of the film whatsoever, why Heart To Heart was left out I do not understand - it certainly gives the film a better balance in terms of the story. All the scenes must have been deleted quite late as all are of the same high quality as the feature in every respect except sound: they only have Dolby Digital 2.0 sound and not Dolby Digital 5.1. They are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and come with 16x9 enhancement. The ten scenes are:     The only real complaint about the presentation is the fact that once again, and this is honestly a consistent problem with Di$ney DVDs, is the fact that navigation back to the menu after each scene has played is very clunky indeed.

Outtakes - Production Gag Reel (6:58)

    The usual collection of short segments where people flub lines and the like. Apart from a couple involving an ad-libbing Ben Stiller, nothing much here that you can really feel as being worthwhile inclusions. Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, they are not 16x9 enhanced and come with ordinary Dolby Digital 2.0 sound.

Biographies - Cast and Crew

    Actually some of the better and more extensive bios that I have seen on DVD. Definitely more along the lines of the comprehensiveness that we are looking for. Unusually, the pages are in fact 16x9 enhanced.


    As far as we have been able to ascertain, there are no censorship issues with this title.

R4 vs R1

    Whilst computer problems have left me unable to access the main review sites that I use for reference, from those I have checked out there seems to be little difference in any respect between the Region 1 and Region 4 releases.


    Keeping The Faith is by no means a classic film, but is the sort of better than average stuff that one can happily pull off the shelf and watch on a reasonably regular basis for a couple of hours of entertainment. As such it is a decent enough effort to consider for inclusion in your collection. A generally very good DVD transfer complemented by a better than average extras package, especially from the likes of Di$ney who are not renowned for their efforts in Region 4 in this area.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris (have a laugh, check out the bio)
5th April, 2001

Review Equipment
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