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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
John Q (2002)

John Q (2002)

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Released 26-Nov-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-Rain
Audio Commentary
Featurette-Fighting For Care
Featurette-Behind The Scenes Of John Q
Deleted Scenes-6 +/- commentary
Production Notes
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
dts Trailer-Piano
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 116:15
RSDL / Flipper RSDL Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Nick Cassavetes

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Denzel Washington
Robert Duvall
James Woods
Anne Heche
Ray Liotta
Eddie Griffin
Kimberley Elise
Shawn Hatosy
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $39.95 Music Aaron Zigman

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

     John Q Archibald’s (Denzel Washington) employer is suffering a downturn in work. As a result, John and others at the factory have had their hours reduced to only 20 hours per week. The resultant reduction in income is causing financial problems and the family is heading further into debt. John always puts on a brave face and is constantly telling his wife that everything will be OK and he will fix the problem.

    While John and wife Denise (Kimberly Elise) are watching their 9-year-old son Mike (Daniel E. Smith) play baseball, he collapses while running between bases. The Archibald’s rush him to the hospital for diagnosis and eventual treatment. Unfortunately, this is only the beginning of the family’s problems.

    The operation to save Mike will cost $250,000 but John is not concerned because he has medical insurance, subsidized by his employer. The problem is that John’s work has recently changed insurance policies, and reduced their level of medical cover to barely cover the cost of Mike’s first night in hospital.

    After the family sells all its material possessions and accepts generous donations, there is just enough to cover the nightly accommodation costs without even starting to cover the operation fees. John and his wife fall deeper and deeper into despair and the whole time the hospital seems to turn a deaf ear to his pleas for some mercy on their part.

    When Denise pleads with John to stop telling her everything will be all right and DO SOMETHING he cracks and decides to put his life on the line and take the hospital's emergency room hostage until his son has the operation.

    A strong cast including Robert Duvall, James Woods, Anne Heche and Ray Liotta make this a fantastic movie with an exceptionally high standard of acting that helps Denzel Washington deliver his most dazzling performance yet.

    Just ask yourself; "If you were pressed into a corner with no conceivable way out, how far would you go to protect or save the life of one of your own?"

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Transfer Quality


     The video transfer of this movie is superb with minimal problems from the usual suspects such as aliasing or grain.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is extremely clear and sharp which is evident from the very first frame and remains so throughout the feature. Shadow detail is also very well controlled with no instances appearing too dark or devoid of detail. The example at 108:47 is typical of what you can expect from this transfer. There is no low level noise.

    The colours are lifelike in appearance with natural skin tones produced from a fully balanced palette. Outdoor shots also exhibit a good blend of colour providing scenes that look like you were seeing them through your own eyes. Scenes shot from inside the hospital tend to use colder colours from the green / blue end of the spectrum which adds visual impact to the movie.

    There was one particular MPEG artefact visible at 46:50 and again at 92:25 which caused John's forehead to move oddly. Aliasing is very rare on the few occasions where it does occur. There is some minor grain in some moving scenes, although I tend to think this was intentional even though nothing specific was mentioned in the commentary track. Film artefacts are also extremely rare and not distracting at all.

    This disc is an RSDL disc with the main feature stored on one layer and the extra's on the other. Therefore there is no layer transition during the movie.

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


    This is a magnificent audio transfer with a slightly more immersive and enveloping feel coming from the DTS track as compared to the Dolby Digital 5.1 track.

    The dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times with no background hiss even at high volume levels. Audio sync was not a problem at all with this transfer, and was completely spot on.

    The musical score by Aaron Zigman was immense, enveloping the listening room and making its presence felt, adding to the overall impact of the movie. The peaks and troughs of sound together with the way they have been mixed across the 5.1 channels suited the scenes well. The volume levels did not drown out the dialogue at any point during the movie.

    The surround channels provide substantial and engaging levels of presence for ambience, music and the occasional special effect such as those at 52:24 and 66:35. Directional effects and precise sound placement within the soundfield were the norm rather than the exception, putting you right in the midst of the action at all times, not just during the action sequences.

    There is a high level of deep bass called for by the music and the sub provides a perfect bottom end to these sequences.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     There are a nice selection of extras present on this disc.


    The menu design is themed around the movie and is 16x9 enhanced. The main menu features an animated clip from the movie and Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded audio. The Scene Access screens use actual footage from each of the chapters rather than a still image, which is a nice touch.

Filmmaker Commentary

This was quite an informative and interesting commentary track hosted by Nick Cassavetes (Director), Rogier Stoffers (Director of Photography), Jim Kearns (Screenwriter) and Kimberly Elise (Denise). They all give both personal and professional opinions and information about the movie and story. As with the movie this is well worth a listen and is a valuable extra to have. The soundtrack is Dolby Digital 2.0 and an English subtitle is available.

Theatrical Trailer (2:15)

    This is of excellent quality, being presented at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced and with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound which is rare to see for trailers.

Original Documentaries

    Both offer a Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded audio track with good quality video. The Fighting For Care documentary shows some medical procedures and is not recommended for the squeamish.

Deleted / Alternate Scenes with Director Commentary

  1. About HMO's (3:17)
  2. Mitch and John (2:45)
  3. Julie's Stand (2:57)
  4. Monroe Takes Control (1:07)
  5. John's Prayer / John's Solution (9:33)
  6. (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) The Heart Transplant / Mikey Flatlines (1:20)

    All the deleted / alternate scenes are worth a look but it is clear to see why they were excluded. The director's commentary also gives a good insight into why he felt they needed cutting from the original. The first 4 are of high quality, directly comparable with the main feature and complete with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.

Original Theatrical Press Kit

    All areas here are text screens with no sound and provide some detailed information about the people both in front of and behind the camera.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     I have been unable to determine if the DVD-ROM content is worth having or not. Personally, I feel that this great PAL transfer far outweighs the minor extra exclusions. It is also worth noting that the DTS track has been included on this disc - unfortunately this track is all-too-often skipped on Region 4 releases.


    This is a film about a miracle and after the opening scene captivates you, you will be waiting for the miracle to happen. It is a magnificent story and one that I will be seeing more of in the future. This is a title that should be in everyone's collection and something that will appeal to a broad range of tastes.

    The video quality is superb.

    The audio is immersive and of very high quality.

    There are plenty of extras to cater for all tastes. All are of high quality both visually and aurally.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Peter Mellor (read my bio)
Thursday, February 06, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1600, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Aconda 9381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete
SpeakersWhatmough Audiolabs Magnum M30 (Mains); M05 (Centre); M10 (Rears); Magnat Vector Needle Sub25A Active SubWoofer

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