|Category||Black Comedy||Theatrical Trailer(s)||Yes, 1 - 1.78:1 non-16x9, DD 2.0|
|Year Released||1999||Commentary Tracks||None|
(not 101 minutes as stated on packaging)
|Other Extras||Featurette-Cast & Crew Interviews (6:03)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes (4:14)
|Start Up||Language Selection,
Jonny Lee Miller
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Dolby Digital||5.1|
|16x9 Enhancement||Yes||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1)
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Jonny Lee Miller is Macleane, a man who has a habit of living beyond his means. Subsequently, he keeps getting thrown into prison because of his inability to meet his debts. Robert Carlyle is Plunkett, an apothecary turned bad. They team up, Plunkett supplying the wherewithal and Macleane supplying the contacts, and form a formidable outlaw combination.
Complications ensue when Macleane falls in love with Lady Rebecca (Liv Tyler), the niece of the Lord Chief Justice (Michael Gambon). Also vying for the Lady Rebecca's attentions is Thief Taker General Chance (Ken Scott) who despite his respectable position is an extremely nasty piece of work. Chance desperately wants to catch Plunkett & Macleane.
A very unusual mix of styles is on show during this movie; the setting is 18th Century England, but the dialogue and the musical accompaniment is firmly rooted in the 20th Century. Oddly, it works rather well, even in scenes where traditional court dancing is set to what can only be described as pumping 1990s techno music.
The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced.
The transfer is variably sharp and clear. The great majority of the transfer is crystal clear and razor sharp, but significant portions of the transfer lose some definition, particularly in scenes where smoke is used in shot for effect. Grain intrudes at time, particularly during the opening titles. Shadow detail is generally good, except when the cinematography deliberately omits shadow detail, though I did feel that this aspect of the transfer could have been better. There is no low level noise.
The colours were unusually rendered, with a very muted and drab appearance. A few scenes were shot more naturally, and these scenes are vibrant and colourful. Purples in particular stand out brightly.
Some MPEG artefacts were seen during the opening titles and in darker smoke-filled scenes, where there was pixelization of the background and subsequent loss of fine detail. This tended to occur during some motion shots as well. There were no film-to-video artefacts seen, nor were there any notable film artefacts.
The dialogue was clear and easy to understand. Very occasionally, some of the dialogue peaks were slightly distorted.
There were no audio sync problems.
The score by Craig Armstrong is a pumping, techno-style soundtrack, quite incongruous in the period setting of the movie, but nonetheless amazingly effective and appropriate.
The surround channels were nicely used for ambience and special effects, providing a surprisingly enveloping soundfield for a basically non-action movie.
The .1 channel was used strongly to support the movie, almost, but not quite, to the point of excess at times.
The video quality is generally good, but fails to impress during scenes which strain the compression process.
The audio quality is relatively good.
The extras are passable, but not great.
© Michael Demtschyna
8th December 1999
Amended 12th September 2000
|DVD||Toshiba 2109, using S-Video output|
|Display||Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer|
|Speakers||Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer|