Nine Queens (Nueve Reinas) (2000)

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Released 24-Oct-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Theatrical Trailer-3
TV Spots
Featurette-Making Of
Gallery
Trailer-Amores Perros; 24 Hour Party People; Samsara; Dinner Rush
Trailer-The Tracker; Spirited Away; Brotherhood Of The Wolf
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 109:12 (Case: 114)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (38:06) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Fabian Bielinksy
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Ricardo Darin
Gaston Pauls
Leticia Bredice
Tomas Fonzi
Elsa Berenguer
Rolly Serrano
Celia Juarez
Antonio Ugo
Alejandro Awada
Ignasi Abadal
Oscar Nunez
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI ? Music Cesar Lerner


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Spanish 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

    You think you can work this out before the end? Good luck to you.

    Nine Queens is the ultimate heist caper movie. A couple of edgy con men – the older, more learned Marcos (Ricardo Darin) and the younger, more cautious Juan (Gaston Pauls) – team up for a day of swindling together. What starts out as a day of petty crime turns into the opportunity of a lifetime when a botched deal falls into their lap, involving the sale of a forgery of The Nine Queens, a set of rare stamps. The only problem is that the deal is being held at the hotel where Marcos’ sister Valeria (Leticia Bredice) works, and there is some bad family blood.

    Everything about this movie is good: the scripting is fantastic, with snappy dialogue and more twists than you can keep track of; the performances, from the three leads in particular, but also the supporting cast, are excellent; and the cinematography is reminiscent of the work of an early Tarantino movie. I could make many comparisons with films from the mainstream, but honestly, this stands on its own as a very clever movie in its own right. In fact, the Argentine setting just adds more to the ambience.

    To tell any more would ruin the experience for you. Pick this up.

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Transfer Quality

Video

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

    The quality of the picture is very good, but it is obvious this film had the budgetary constraints which come from not being financed by a major Hollywood studio. Colours are well saturated, and shadow detail is good, but there is a bit of persistent graininess.

    MPEG artefacts are few and far between, with only some noticeable aliasing at 28:09. There is also some very faint low-level noise.

    Dirt pops up every now and then through the film, but nothing terribly distracting. There was however, a rather obvious reel change at 37:59 which, although lacking ‘cigarette burns’, came with a fair amount of dirt and a minor pop in the soundtrack.

    As this film only comes with a Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo track, subtitles are a necessity for people like me who don’t speak Spanish. There is only one set of subtitles, which come on automatically, and that is the English set. They are yellow with a black border and are clear and easy to read throughout, although at times the dialogue is so fast paced you have to be able to read at a glance to keep up with everything.

    The dual-layer pause is at 38:06. It occurs during a quiet moment in a scene, but the background ambience is noticeably silent for a fraction of a second. Still, it is not terribly distracting.

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

Audio

    There is one soundtrack available: Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo.

    Dialogue is clear and easy to understand, and there are no audio sync problems that I could detect. This is very important, because the entire film is dialogue driven, and even if you need the subtitles to understand what is being said, the inflections in the tone of voice are quite important to the mood of the film and the character of the performances.

    There is a surprising amount of ambience in this film, with lots of left to right directional cues and the like, and people bustling by in the background. There was surprisingly little of the score by Cesar Lerner, the film relying instead on the aforementioned ambience and the persistent dialogue. When the score was used, however, it was quite subtle, exhibiting a moderate range and not dominating the soundfield. This was undoubtedly intentional.

    Unfortunately, there is no subwoofer use.

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

Extras

Menus

    All menus are 16x9 enhanced. The main menu has clips from various scenes throughout the movie with the score playing in 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo. All other menus are static.

Featurette: “Making Of Nine Queens” (24:26)

    Presented in 1.66:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo. This is a rather interesting behind the scenes look at the film, containing interviews with writer/director Fabian Bielinsky. Unfortunately, the picture quality is quite appalling.

“Nine Queens” US Trailer (1:53)

    Presented in 1.85:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo. The picture is pristine, even better than the print used for the feature.

“Nine Queens” Argentine Trailer (0:58)

    Presented in 1.85:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo. This is a very poor NTSC transfer, blurry and discoloured the whole way.

“Nine Queens” International Trailer (1:50)

    Presented in 1.33:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo. Another clean transfer

TV Spots “Nine Queens” (1:53)

    Presented in 1.33:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo. A series of short spots for TV.

Images & Poster Gallery

    12 stills presented within the menu frame and mostly obscured.

Trailer - “Amores Perros” (2:08)

    Presented in 1.33:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo. If you haven’t seen this film, rent it, buy it, borrow it, whatever. Brilliant, passionate, intense. The trailer is admittedly quite good promotional material.

Trailer - “24 Hour Party People” (2:08)

    Presented in 1.33:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo. This film looks like a laugh riot if you are into the British music scene.

Trailer - “Samsara” (2:15)

    Presented in 1.85:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo.

Trailer - “Dinner Rush” (1:55)

    Presented in 1.85:1,non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo. This trailer is a very bad NTSC transfer.

Trailer - “The Tracker” (2:05)

    Presented in 2.35:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo.

Trailer - “Spirited Away” (2:18)

    Presented in 1.85:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo.

Trailer - “Brotherhood Of The Wolf” (1:36)

    Presented in 1.33:1, non-16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo. For those of you who have not seen this film, it is fantastic. This trailer, however, is another example of Hollywood’s inability to market ideas from overseas. If I had seen this trailer first, I would have thought the film was a joke.

R4 vs R1

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

    The R1 release has much the same promotional material to do with the film, but also has a Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround soundtrack and French subtitles. Given that it is released by Columbia Tristar in R1, it probably also has a better transfer done by Sony off a superior master print. Even if not for the better picture, the 5.1 Dolby Digital track makes R1 the clear winner, as much of the other promotional material available on the R4 release is superfluous.

Summary

    Nine Queens is a brilliant heist caper, rooted firmly in the characters of the con men and their uneasy relationship. You will be had.

    Video is very good but not to the standard of contemporary Hollywood films.

    The sound is a good 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo mix, but it was a crime not to include the 5.1 Spanish Dolby Digital mix available on the R1 release.

    The extras were largely promotional material, but the featurette had some interesting insight.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Thursday, June 05, 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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