Beaconsfield (2012)

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Released 15-Aug-2012

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Docudrama Gallery-Photo-Behind the Scenes
Gallery-Building "The 925" Gallery
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 111:04
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (64:05) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Glendyn Ivin

Madman Entertainment
Starring Shane Jacobson
Lachy Hulme
Cameron Daddo
Anthony Hayes
Michala Banas
Sacha Horler
Angus Sampson
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Stephen Rae

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
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 None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     On Anzac Day, 2006 a tunnel collapse in the Beaconsfield gold mine in Tasmania killed miner Larry Knight and trapped two others, Brant Webb and Todd Russell, in the small cage of a teleloader. After six days it was discovered that they were still alive but it was not until 15 days after the original collapse that they were rescued and brought to the surface. Beaconsfield, made for Channel Nine and broadcast on 22 April 2012, is a reconstruction of those days.

     The film opens with a brief look at the home life and families of Webb and Russell, played by Shane Jacobson and Lachy Hulme respectively, but in less than 6 minutes they are underground and the disaster has occurred. For the rest of its 111 minute running time the film switches between the ordeal of the men underground, their wives and families and the efforts of their rescuers to find the men and get them out safely. Despite knowing what happened the film nicely builds up the tension before and after the accident, helped by two excellent performances from Shane Jacobson and Lachy Hulme. There is no false bravado here but real dialogue and realistic performances in a claustrophobic dark space; the men had little in common and they do argue and get angry, which under the circumstances is perfectly understandable. The sound design also helps; the sequences underground and filled with dripping water, falling debris and cracking rocks.

     Above ground the film is also well served by some beautiful stark landscape cinematography of the town and the mine environs, as well as natural performances by Cameron Daddo as the mine manager, Anthony Hayes, Angus Sampson and Syd Brisbane as fellow miners and Michala Banas and Sacha Horler as the respective wives. There are also some beautifully written and played scenes featuring Peta Brady as Jacqui Knight, the daughter of the miner who did not make it out of the mine alive. Amid all the euphoria at the rescue of Webb and Russell, her sad and lonely face says it all.

     While the film stays with the miners, their families or the rescue attempts it is a well-made and tense drama. The only miss-step to my mind is the scenes involving Richard Carleton (played by Steve Vizard). Respected journalist Carleton suffered a heart attack and died while covering the story. His death was without doubt a great loss to Australia and to journalism, but Beaconsfield is not his story, and this sub plot, taking us away from the drama of the rescue, is unnecessary.

     As a telemovie Beaconsfield is a success, telling a story of courage, fortitude and sheer guts and determination with economy, directness and without false heroics. Made with the cooperation of Webb and Russell, the film is probably as realistic, showing life underground, as we are going to get. Beaconsfield is excellent, and I enjoyed it far more than I had expected.

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Transfer Quality


     Beaconsfield is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, the original broadcast ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     This is a good print. Close up detail is excellent, showing every whisker and graze on the faces of the men trapped underground. Colours are deep and natural, with some stunning images of the mine head in the darkness amid lights, the town and the surrounding countryside. Blacks are good, although the print does struggle underground to cope with the darkness punctuated by lights in the shaft, where low level noise is evident and the image can get quite grainy (see 15:40 for an example). However, this is not distracting and shadow detail remains OK. Other than occasional slight ghosting with movement, marks and artefacts are absent.

     There are no subtitles.

     The layer change at 64:05 resulted in a slight pause.

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


     The sole audio track is an English Dolby Digital 2.0, surround encoded, at 224 Kbps.

     This audio is very good. This is not an action film but a film of dialogue, silences and natural effects. Dialogue was mostly fine, although it was occasionally indistinct, when the lack of subtitles proved a handicap. The Foley is another matter. Underground with the trapped men is a constant stream of ambient sound; the running water, debris falling from the roof, the constant grinding and cracking of rocks all give a wonderful, claustrophobic, enveloping experience. Elsewhere, the audio was rather more flat, but acceptable. I did not notice any use of the sub-woofer.

     The score by Stephen Rae is sparsely used, the underground sequences almost without exception using only the sounds of the water, engines and rocks. The only exception is a montage after the men are found, when the film uses one of a number of the country and western songs that pepper the soundtrack.

     Lip synchronisation is fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Behind the Scenes: Gallery (3:28)

    Approximately 70 colour and black and white production, film and behind the scenes stills. No sound, stills advance automatically.

Building of “The 925” Gallery (1:15)

    Much of the film was shot in a real working mine but the gallery where Todd and Brant were working, the “925”, had to be reconstructed in a Melbourne warehouse. This extra consists of 20 stills showing the plans for the gallery and its building. No sound, stills advance automatically.

R4 vs R1

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

     There does not appear to be any other release of the film at this time.


     Beaconsfield is an excellent film that tells a story of courage, fortitude and sheer guts and determination with economy, directness and without false heroics.

     The DVD has good video and very good audio. Extras are limited to a couple of short photo galleries.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, October 04, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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