Straits, The-Season 1 (Blu-ray) (2011)

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Released 3-May-2012

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 520:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Peter Andrikidis
Rachel Ward
Rowan Woods
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Brian Cox
Rena Owen
Rachael Blake
Aaron Fa'aoso
Jimi Bani
Firass Dirani
Susannah Bayes-Morton
Case ?
RPI ? Music David Bridie


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080i
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Wow! This series has come and gone on the ABC without too much fanfare or particularly high ratings, however this is one of the highest quality Australian television drama series of recent years. Its quality is similar to that of the best HBO series. I know that is a big statement but The Straits is truly excellent. Probably the easiest way I can describe this is The Sopranos transplanted to Cairns, Far North Queensland, Torres Strait and Papua New Guinea. That is not completely fair as this show stands on its own, however, it does help to give you some idea of what the show is.

     The show is focused on the Montebello family led by father Harry (Brian Cox), an English ex-pat who is a successful drug runner in the region mentioned above, bringing drugs into Australia from the north. He also has legitimate businesses such as a crocodile farm, which sometimes comes in useful for his other business. An equally important family leader is his wife, Kitty (Rena Owen), a half Torres Strait islander, half-Maori woman whose family connections in the islands provide Harry's business with protection and information. Once Harry and Kitty found they could not have children, they adopted four kids from their extended families. These have now grown up and are involved in the family business to some degree or other. At the beginning of the series, Harry sets a devastating chain of events in motion by telling his three sons that they must prove to him who of them is most capable of taking over the business when he retires. The sons are the hot headed and violent Noel (Aaron Fa'aoso who also came up with the original idea for this series), the religious, ex-NRL star, Marou (Jimi Bani) and the young impetuous, ladies’ man Gary (Firass Dirani). The fourth child is daughter Sissi (Susannah Bayes-Morton) who becomes more involved in the business as the series progresses.

     The family sell the drugs on to a bikie gang, the Demon Cheaters, who then distribute them to users. The relationship between the DCs and the Montebello's is filled with tension and drives quite a bit of the plot over the series. Other important recurring characters include the family lawyer, Natasha (Rachael Blake), their accountant Paddy (Kim Gyngell) and Harry's bodyguard, Vince (Andy Anderson).

     The link to The Sopranos is more in style than story as this show combines the sickening violence, dark humour and family dramas that were such a key part of The Sopranos. Like The Sopranos, this show is very well written and the cast fit their roles perfectly. As I mentioned above the show came from an original idea by Aaron Fa'aoso and was then developed by a number of writers, especially playwright Louis Nowra. It is also great to see renowned international actors like Brian Cox and Rena Owen starring in an Australian television drama. The music and cinematography are also important elements to this show, the credits and accompanying music being especially reminiscent of a HBO drama. The violence is quite confronting however it is not gruesome with much of it being implied rather than shown. This Blu-ray set includes the ten episodes spread over two discs. I would highly recommend this quality Australian drama series. I am really looking forward to Season 2.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The video quality is very good but only 1080i. The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 1080i encoded using AVC.

     The picture was very clear and sharp throughout and the shadow detail was very good. Due to the interlaced format there was some motion blur which affected the sharpness.

     The colour was very good, highlighting the beauty of tropical Queensland & Papua especially from the air.

     There is some minor shimmer to be seen now and again.

     There are subtitles in English. They were clear and easy to read and in multiple colours.

     There are no obvious layer changes during playback.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The audio quality is good but only in a standard definition format.

     This disc contains an English soundtrack in Dolby Digital 2.0. Dialogue was sometimes difficult to catch and the subtitles proved useful even for the non-hearing impaired.

     The music by David Bridie sounds great on this transfer.

     The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

  

      Nothing at all.

Menu

        The menu included music and scenes from the show.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Blu-ray is only locally available at this point.

Summary

     A very high quality Australian crime/drama series.

     The video quality is very good but only 1080i.

     The audio quality is good.

     The extras have been smuggled back out of Australia by the Montebellos.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into BD player. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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