The Navigators (2001)

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Released 2-Jul-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Deleted Scenes-+/- Director's Commentary
Featurette-Railing Against It
Featurette-Making Tracks
Filmographies-Crew-Ken Loach
Trailer-Nine Queens;The Cat's Meow;Molokai;The Tracker;Satin Rouge
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 92:14
RSDL / Flipper RSDL Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Ken Loach
Parallax Pictures
Madman Entertainment
Starring Dean Andrews
Tom Craig
Joe Duttine
Steve Huston
Venn Tracey
Sean Glenn
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI ? Music George Fenton

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
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

†††† The Navigators is a typical Ken Loach (Carlaís Song, My Name Is Joe) film. It is about ordinary people, generally on the poverty-stricken end of the working class, coping with day-to-day life. This particular film involves a look at the privatisation of the rail industry in the UK, and what happens to a working gang of long-term British Rail employees. As privatisation closes in, some of them choose to stay under their original working conditions until no more work exists, and others take up work as independent contractors in order to get enough money to live. Piece by piece, they make concessions in the name of economic overhaul until safety is compromised and accidents start happening.

†††† This is not Loachís best film. It has its comedic moments, and its bitter-sweet moments, and its long hard look at the darker side of ordinary life. Performances are, on the whole, excellent. But it lacks the real interpersonal drama of Carlaís Song, or the heartbreaking love story at the core of My Name Is Joe. While you can certainly feel for the characters in The Navigators, they are simply not as interesting as the characters in Loachís previous films. There is no dramatic climax, just a slow spiral down.

†††† This is still a well made and interesting film, but Friday night entertainment it is not. And when compared to Loachís film history, I was expecting at least a little more tension and a little more drama.

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Transfer Quality


†††† Presented in 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced, this is the original aspect ratio.

†††† The quality of the picture is reasonably good, although quite grainy and dark. This is a direct result of Loachís insistence on natural lighting, or as close as he can get to natural lighting. There was also a fair amount of low-level noise, but this never disintegrated into MPEG blocking.

†††† Colours were muted although discernible, again an intentional use by the director. This film is, after all, set in the grey British urban murk of London, and it is raining in at least half the scenes. Shadow detail is not exceptional, again due to the choice of lighting.

†††† Other than some very minor aliasing I noticed no MPEG artefacts. There was a bit of grit and dirt on the film, but nothing too distracting.

†††† The layer-change pause does not occur during the film. I have watched this several times now and cannot find it. Considering the film is barely 90 minutes and is accompanied by only one Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound track it is no surprise that it fits on one layer. The pause lies in between the film and the special features (you can tell by the slight tracking pause when you access those features). It is not disruptive.

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


†††† Mixed in 2.0 Dolby Stereo, this is a wholly frontal soundtrack.

†††† Dialogue is fairly clear and easy to understand once you get used to the various Yorkshire dialects. There were no audio sync problems that I could discern.

†††† The music score, a kind of bluesy tune, is used fairly sparingly.

†††† There are quite a lot of directional cues, as you would expect, given that half the scenes take place on the tracks with trains passing left and right behind the foreground action.

†††† There was no subwoofer use.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


†††† The extras on this disc are extensive and interesting. I gained more from the two documentaries, I think, than I did from the film. This is not to detract so much from the film, rather to highlight the quality of the extras.


†††† All menus are 16x9 enhanced. They are static and only the main menu has the theme music playing in 2.0 Dolby Digital.

Deleted Scenes (24:11)

†††† Presented in 1.85:1, non-16x9 enhanced, these are generally alternate takes, or extensions of scenes already in the film. They are not very good quality.

Featurette - Railing Against It (28:38)

†††† Presented in 1.33:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo, this is the making of documentary, which involves the personal account of a man directly affected by the privatisation of the British Rail system.

Featurette - Making Tracks (24:11)

†††† Presented in 1.33:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Digital Mono, this is one of those cute old-fashioned black & white documentaries that they used to show in schools outlining how train tracks are made.

Ken Loach Filmography

†††† A three page list of all the films that Ken Loach has directed.

Trailer - Nine Queens (1:51)

†††† Presented in 1.85:1, non-16x9 enhanced.

Trailer - The Catís Meow (2:09)

†††† Presented in 1.33:1, non-16x9 enhanced

Trailer - Molokai (1:29)

†††† Presented in 1.33:1, non-16x9 enhanced.

Trailer - The Tracker (2:05)

†††† Presented in 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced.

Trailer - Satin Rouge (1:38)

†††† Presented in 1.85:1, non-16x9 enhanced.

R4 vs R1

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

†††† There is no R1 release.


†††† The Navigators is a very Ken Loach film, but itís not his best work.

†††† Video was acceptable, the faults generally a result of the manner in which the film was made.

†††† The sound is stock standard with no real faults.

†††† The extras are very good.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Tuesday, April 29, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD-RV31A-S, using S-Video output
DisplayBeko 28" (16x9). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver.
AmplificationMarantz SR7000
SpeakersEnergy - Front, Rear, Centre & Subwoofer

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