The Shadow Line (2011)

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Released 3-May-2012

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Crime Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Deleted Scenes
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 414
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Hugo Blick

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor
Christopher Eccleston
Rafe Spall
Stephen Rea
Richard Lintern
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $49.95 Music Martin Phipps

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

     Well, here is a television mini-series which really slipped under the wire, certainly for me. I believe it was shown on the ABC recently, however, I didn't notice it.

     The first scene of this 7 hour mini-series indicates clearly that this is not the run of the mill production as it opens with a very different and interesting shot of a car which contains the body of a dead drug dealer who has just been released from prison, Harvey Wratten, and shows the interesting approach taken by the two uniformed police officers who respond initially. As the story progresses and the plot strands unfold, this initial approach becomes clear and many other factors are revealed. This story here is so interesting that to give away much of it would spoil the watching of this marvellous crime/police/corruption thriller. I will introduce the major characters and leave it at that. Firstly, there is the Detective Inspector assigned to investigate the murder, DI Jonah Gabriel (Chiwetel Ejiofor). He is just returning to work after getting shot in the head on a previous case, in the same incident where his partner was killed. He is suffering some amnesia as the bullet is still lodged in his head, just behind one ear. He reports to a CID head, Patterson (Richard Lintern), who in turn reports to the Police Commissioner, Khokar (Ace Bhatti). Both of them want the case solved quickly. On the other side of the law is Joseph Bede (Christopher Eccleston), ostensibly a florist but really running a front for Wratten's drug empire, constructed to activate on his release from prison. He is a controlled and measured man whose wife is suffering from Alzheimer's and going downhill fast. Also released from prison on the same day as Harvey was his nephew, the psychotic loose cannon, Jay Wratten (Rafe Spall). Other associates of Wratten also play prominent parts in the story including his Turkish drug supplier, Bhabur (Stanley Townshend), the man who moves the stuff on the streets, Bob Harris (Robert Pugh), Harris's young associate Rattalak and Wratten's missing partner, Glickman. Added into this potent mix of dangerous characters is a shadowy man called Gatehouse (Stephen Rea) who gets himself involved in what occurs after the murder of Wratten.

     The story involves much more than just working out who murdered Wratten including how he got released in the first place and many other intrigues. This show is very well written and was created, written, directed and produced by one man, Hugo Blick. His career includes acting and writing/producing mostly television comedy before this series, which shows his broader talents. The cast is of the highest quality for a television production as you can see from the names mentioned above and they all do marvellous work. The music and style of the show adds significant tension and thrills, keeping the audience riveted for the 7 hour run time (over 7 episodes). The cinematography is also a cut above normal television fare.

     This is the best British crime/police thriller I have seen since Cracker. It is an excellent series, wonderfully well written, acted, directed and shot.

    Highly Recommended.

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Transfer Quality


     The video quality is very good.

     The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    The picture was quite clear and sharp throughout. Shadow detail was quite good.

     The colour is very good but somewhat dull in keeping with the tone and style of the series.

     There were no obvious artefacts.

     There are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired which were clear and easy to read.

     There is no obvious layer change during the episodes.

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


     The audio quality is good.

     This discs contain an English soundtrack in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. The sound is obviously quite front focused.

    Dialogue was generally easy to understand throughout although the subtitles were useful.

     The music sounds good and significantly adds to the show's atmosphere.

     The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



     The menu featured music and motion.

Deleted Scenes (0:42, 4:38, 1:03, 0:44, 0:45, 1:15, 0:41, 0:36)

     Reasonable set of deleted scenes but none of which should have been included in the final cut.

R4 vs R1

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

    This show is available in the UK in the same format.


     A very high quality crime/police thriller from the BBC.

     The video quality is very good.

     The audio quality is good.

     One decent extra.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Thursday, July 19, 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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