Dealer (2004)

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Released 18-Mar-2011

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Featurette-Making Of
Outtakes
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 136:22
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (81:40) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Benedek Fliegauf
Studio
Distributor
Gryphon Entertainment Starring Felician Keresztes
Barbara Thurzo
Aniko Szigeti
Edina Balogh
Case ?
RPI ? Music Benedek Fliegauf
Zoltan Tamasi


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Hungarian
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

     Written / directed and co-scored by Hungarian Benedek Fliegauf, Dealer follows a day in the life of a low level drug dealer (Felician Keresztes) as, throughout one long day, he intersects with his clientele and deals with the wreckage of their lives. Only a few people offer him any opportunity for a better life: Barbara (Barbara Thurzo), who is clean and wants him to stop dealing, and young Bogi (Edina Balogh) who may or may not be his daughter although her addicted mother Wanda (Aniko Szigeti) does not want him anywhere near the child.

     The world of Dealer is an existence without joy or laughter. The backgrounds are drab and depressed, sparsely populated grey industrial estates, parks with little foliage, underground walkways and dark rooms. The film develops in long slow takes, the camera often lingering on faces without words, on people we don’t know who intersect briefly with the dealer in hope, expectation or in pain. The bleak mood is helped by the stunning sound design. There is little music in the film; instead there is an atonal, electric industrial soundscape that is ever-present in the surrounds, occasionally interspersed by weather sounds, such as thunder or dripping water. This is dull, ambient sound, matching the bleak visuals and drawing us into this unsettling world.

     Yet Dealer is a film that never goes for the sensational as it draws you into its world. There are no histrionics, no action, but a powerful character piece helped by wonderful, low key performances by the amateur actors. The plot structure is loose, with a number of low key events occurring throughout the day. This works well and gives the film a quasi-documentary feel, yet it takes a turn with about 15 minutes to go that is not fully explained, or consistent with what has gone before. One of the deleted scenes on the DVD helps a bit, but even so this transition to the climax is perhaps the weakest part of the film that, to me at least, leads to a less than satisfying conclusion.

     Dealer is a powerful, dark, mesmerising piece of independent European filmmaking, where the plot is less important than the characters, the atmosphere and the sound design. It is a simple story told well that is worth a visit.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Dealer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the original theatrical ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     This is a dark film which the print reflects. The colour palate is muted and dull; there are no vibrant colours on show and greys/ browns dominate. Detail is often on the soft side and while blacks were solid, shadow detail can be indistinct. Contrast and brightness vary occasionally, which I think is more to do with the way the film was shot.

     Film grain was evident, but it was not displeasing and added to the feel of the film. On the other hand there were quite a few artefacts throughout in the nature of white flecks and the odd scratch, plus aliasing on things such as blinds (125:43). There is also slight occasional ghosting with movement in front of mottled surfaces and the closing titles were impossible to read due to excessive flicker.

     English and Hungarian subtitles are available. The menu allows for two English subtitle streams, English and English CineSub, although I saw no difference in the portion I sampled. The English subtitles are in an easy to read white font. They did contain some spelling errors, such as “whie” for “while” (15:21) and “ather” for “father” (43:08) as well as some chunky grammar. They also translated one section of English dialogue, again with some issues.

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

Audio

     Audio is Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps. While I may have reservations about the video, the audio is excellent.

     Dialogue is clear and centred and the surrounds used constantly for the atonal, electric industrial soundscape which passes for the score, credited to Benedek Fliegauf and Zoltan Tamasi. It is not overdone in the context of the film, but the ambient hum is ever-present in the surrounds, occasionally interspersed by weather sounds such as thunder or dripping water plus the occasional directional effect. It was subtle, but very effective. The subwoofer added depth to the sound design without being obvious.

     Lip synchronisation was off occasionally.

     The layer change at 81:40 resulted in a slight pause.

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

Extras

Making of (16:33)

     This is a Hungarian version of an EPK, with film and behind the scenes footage plus interview snippets with writer / director Benedek Fliegauf, cinematographer Peter Szatmari, the producers, editor, assistant director, production manager plus 5 cast members. They talk a bit about the characters, the editing, the sound design and using amateur actors. Still worth a look.

Outtakes (16:43)

     Not really outtakes, instead we get three long deleted sequences, one of which at least could still be in the film to help explain the climax.

R4 vs R1

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

     The only other version of Dealer I can find is a Region 0 German release which includes as extras a Booklet, Cast/Crew Interviews, Deleted Scenes, Making Of, Photo Gallery and Trailers. The feature has English subtitles, but I am not sure about the extras. The local version is fine.

Summary

     Dealer is a dark, powerful, mesmerising piece of independent European filmmaking from Hungary. It is a simple story, well told, with strong acting and a stunning sound design which makes Dealer well worth a visit.

     The DVD comes with adequate video and excellent audio. Extras are worthwhile, and welcome.

     Dealer is included in the three disc Crime and Punishment collection from Gryphon, an interesting set of European independent cinema that also includes Lost Times (2009) and A Somewhat Gentle Man (2010).

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Tuesday, November 13, 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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