The Man from Elysian Fields (2001)

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Released 27-Apr-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Theatrical Trailer
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Gallery-Photo
Trailer-Italian for Beginners; I'm With Lucy; The Last Kiss; Tape
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 101:19
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By George Hickenlooper
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Tony Garcia
Julianna Margulies
Mick Jagger
Olivia Williams
James Coburn
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music Anthony Marinelli


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

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

Plot Synopsis

    Struggling novelist Byron Tiller (Tony Garcia) is finding it hard to make ends meet. His latest effort has been knocked back by his publisher, and his previous book has been relegated to the bargain bins. Cruel destiny! With a hungry wife (Julianna Margulies) and child at home, things are becoming desperate - until the enigmatic Luther (Mick Jagger) appears, offering Byron a position in an escort service named Elysian Fields, which is squarely aimed at the lonely, rich trophy wife demographic. Pride is a bitter pill to swallow, especially when it's the size of a football, so Byron takes the job, shuts his eyes and does his duty with Andrea (Olivia Williams), the young wife of rich Pulitzer Prize winning author Tobias Allcott (James Coburn). Tobias doesn't cut the mustard in the sack due to failing health, so he gives the pair his blessing (as you do) and the three hit it off. It just so happens that Allcott is completing his swansong novel, which contains the same premise as Tiller's recently rejected work, and a collaboration is born. The old chestnut of poor happiness versus rich guilt, a la Devil's Advocate and countless other films gets more mileage here, as the carbon paper wears thinner and thinner in Hollywood.

    The so-so plot is redeemed by solid performances and a decent script, with Garcia and Margulies (of television series ER) making a convincing husband and wife. The only uncomfortable performance is in the very wooden narration from Mick Jagger, whose reading voice sounds as though he forgot to remove the proverbial silver spoon. Angelica Huston makes an appearance as Mick Jagger's wealthy client, and James Coburn manages yet another great performance as himself.

    Fans of disturbed metal band Tool will be interested to see an appearance by the amazing contortionist duo Osseus Labyrint, who joined the band on their last Australian tour.

    Director George Hickenlooper has delivered a dark and occasionally humorous film that burns slowly to begin with, but builds some pace as the twists develop in the second half of the feature. This is a good rainy Sunday night film, not overly challenging for the old grey matter.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Considering the age of this film, this is a pretty ordinary transfer.

    The feature is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The overall transfer is not particularly sharp, exhibiting a dirty, undefined look throughout, although it is possible that this was the intention of the director. The absence of any truly deep blacks was disappointing, and this greatly affected the level of shadow detail. No low level noise was apparent.

    Colours were rich and no signs of bleeding were evident. Skin tones also appeared true.

    I was surprised to find no major MPEG artefacts were present. Some slight grain is evident on occasion, but is not too distracting. Most annoying was the number of ugly film artefacts, particularly during scene transitions (5:39, 58:05). These appeared in all forms, from large black and white specks to hairs.

    Disappointingly, no subtitles are available on this single layered disc.

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

Audio

    There are two audio tracks to select from, the default being Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s). There is also a Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s) track. I listened to both soundtracks.

    Dialogue clarity varied from very clear indoor voices, to location audio with no ADR. On my first viewing of the film I had to review one scene many times to understand what was being said due to loud traffic noise (34:00). Audio sync was a minor issue on a few occasions, the most pronounced of which was the use of a typewriter (44:08).

    The musical score is credited to Anthony Marinelli, and it has a very jazzy, percussive feel. Tabla drums are used to build tension with great effect, and the score as a whole complements the darker emotions of the movie.

    Being a dialogue driven film shouldn't mean that we receive a frontal audio mix. Surround activity was absolutely minimal on the Dolby Digital 5.1 track. Rear channels were rarely used for ambience, but some soundtrack music spilled to the back occasionally (49:14). I was disappointed to find that when people were speaking off-camera that their voices stayed in the front centre channel. Although it is not flagged, the Dolby Digital 2.0 track directed more ambience to the rear with Pro Logic II enabled, giving a much more immersive soundfield.

    Subwoofer response was virtually non-existent apart from one scene, in which a deep rumbling was used to build tension (37:00).

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

Extras

    There is very little to get excited about here.

Menu

    Menus are static and 16x9 enhanced. An audio clip is played from the film's score in Linear PCM (1536Kb/s) on the main menu only.

Trailer (2:25)

    Presented in 1.33:1 full frame and accompanied by Dolby Digital 2.0 audio, this trailer gives away quite a few plot twists from the film. I wouldn't recommend watching it prior to viewing the feature.

Biographies-Cast & Crew

    Contains some interesting info on six of the cast members and the director.

Photo Gallery

    Twenty photos. Some are production stills and a few were taken on the set.

Trailers (4)

    Includes trailers for the films Italian for Beginners, I'm With Lucy, The Last Kiss, and Tape.

R4 vs R1

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

    This currently rental-only Region 4 release misses out on:

    The Region 1 version misses out on:

    It remains to be seen whether we will get the missing Audio Commentary and TV spots if/when this title is released to sell-through in Region 4.

Summary

    The Man From Elysian Fields is an okay movie, bolstered by some very good performances. Its DVD presentation in Region 4 is average.

    The video quality is ordinary, considering the film was only recently made.

    The audio transfer has a totally frontal soundfield, with poor dialogue quality on occasion.

    The extras aren't much to speak of.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Rob Giles (readen de bio, bork, bork, bork.)
Tuesday, May 27, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-525, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX76PW10A 76cm Widescreen 100Hz. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.

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