This review is sponsored by
(Not 91.45 minutes as per packaging)
Fox Home Video
|RPI||Rental Only||Music||Damon Albarn|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Pan & Scan||English (Dolby Digital 2.0, 224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||
|Subtitles||None||Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The fact that this film is about a famous Irish criminal, and that it has been almost universally panned by UK critics, was not an encouraging sign as I sat down to view it. The fact that Fox have elected to release the film as a rental disc with a Pan And Scan transfer didn't help, either. Anyway, the story rolls along with Lynch and his family having their lives made into nightmares by the Dublin police, and Michael seeing only two ways to get out: turn himself in or get killed. There really isn't much more to the plot at all, which makes writing this synopsis even more of a headache than it normally should be. I have to go with the advice of just about every critic, amateur or otherwise, that I've heard from, and recommend that you have a look at The General instead. Most of the negative comments, which account for nine out of the ten I read when debating whether to stick my hand up for this one, cite the biggest problem with this version of the story as being too much Americanization.
Given that this effort has been released with a six-month rental window, I would normally suggest that one makes good use of that time to check out the film and see whether it is to their liking. I suppose that the MA rating can be seen as a guarantee that, whatever else the film lacks, there will at least be some entertaining violence to justify the rental fee. However, I also recommend that we, the DVD-Video users, give the rental release scheme a thumbs down by not hiring this disc, which won't be all that hard to do when the plot is taken into account. The transfer quality is not exactly anything to rave about, either.
The transfer's sharpness is acceptable, with plenty of detail to behold in the foregrounds. On numerous occasions, however, the background lacks definition and becomes quite blurry, often with roaming noise that is definitely compression-related. The shadow detail is good, although it is quite clear that shadow detail wasn't a major concern during principal photography. There was no low level noise.
The colour saturation is a perfect reflection of the environment being shot, with numerous lush shades of green conflicting with the dirty browns and greys of the city. I've never actually been to Ireland, but after seeing the photography contained herein, I'm going to have to add Dublin to my list of places to visit. There were no problems with colour bleeding or other such artefacts, although lens flare from the lights within Michael Lynch's factory headquarters was a small problem.
MPEG artefacts were mostly absent from the picture, but there was one MPEG-related loss of definition during a scene transition at 32:42, when the edges of the judge's face and the wall behind him briefly dissolved into a string of macro-blocks. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of a lot of aliasing, with distracting examples at 4:37, 5:04, 5:54, 8:04, 8:24, 8:50, 9:04, 11:46, 16:51, 16:59, 18:30, 19:54, 20:00, 22:59, 24:55, 25:03, 25:36, 28:30, 30:58, 32:40, 32:46, 33:51, 34:00, 37:16, 38:04, 39:34, and 41:40. These are just the instances I noted before I ran out of space on my notepad, and I am positive that I missed a few within these times as well. Film artefacts consisted of black and white marks on the picture that were small in size and moderate in frequency.
The dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times, in spite of the Irish accents that are quite obviously and inconsistently put on by the principal actors. The lesser stars of the film have more natural and consistent accents, but I found them easy to understand at all times anyway. Still, others who are not as used to accents from the Celtic lands as I am may experience some difficulties, so you may consider yourself warned if the likes of Jimoein give you headaches. There are no discernible problems with audio sync, save for some marginal ADR during phone conversations.
The score music in this film is credited to one Damon Albarn, but the contemporary numbers, such as the very appropriate number that made a certain band by the name of Jane's Addiction famous, Been Caught Stealing, left more of an impression upon me. Much of the score music consists of rather twee sounds on a synthesizer, and sounds rather inappropriate during the times when it can be fully heard.
Being that this is a straight stereo mix, there was no activity from the surround channels. This was somewhat disappointing, but there were very few sound effects that really would have benefited from being directed into the rears, anyway. The film is very heavily dependent on dialogue, so a discrete mix would be very heavily biased towards the front channels, anyway. The subwoofer was present to support the music, gunshots, and other such bass-heavy sound effects, which it did without calling any specific attention to itself.
The video quality is very disappointing, and where's the other quarter of the image, Fox?
The audio quality is good.
The extras are very basic.
© Dean McIntosh (my
bio sucks... read it anyway)
March 31, 2001
|DVD||Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output|
|Display||Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm) in 16:9 and 4:3 modes, calibrated using the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built In (Amplifier)|
|Amplification||Sony STR-DE835, calibrated using the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Yamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Yamaha NS-90 Rear Speakers, Yamaha NS-C120 Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer|