Abandon (2002)

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Released 18-Nov-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Menu Animation & Audio
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 94:35
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (49:43) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Stephen Gaghan
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Katie Holmes
Benjamin Bratt
Charlie Hunnam
Zooey Deschanel
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $24.95 Music Clint Mansell


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Czech Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Turkish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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
English for the Hearing Impaired
French
Spanish
Dutch
Czech
Turkish
Portuguese
Hungarian
Hebrew
Greek
Croatian
Slovenian
Spanish Titling
Czech Titling
Turkish Titling
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Win an Academy Award and it looks like you can pretty much have free reign for at least the next year. Stephen Gaghan won his gold statuette for adapting the screenplay to Steven Soderburgh's hit film Traffic. He also wrote the thriller Rules of Engagement. It seems that the power of an Oscar gets you the chance to direct your own film.

     Katie Holmes (Dawson's Creek) stars as Katie Burke. She's a pretty and petite young thing who is trying to get a university thesis finished, all while attending interviews for several high profile consulting firms who are after her services. Katie is incredibly smart and savvy, yet the pressure has been mounting of late and she is beginning to show the signs of a stressful life. Studying hard is no good for anyone...as I always tried to tell my parents. Anyway, Katie is also only just getting over the mysterious disappearance a couple of years prior of her boyfriend Embry (Charlie Hunnam). He was an alternative arty type, prone to mysterious outbursts, and his disappearance would not usually be thought much of. But when local detective Wade Handler (Benjamin Bratt) decides to further investigate this mystery after the case was closed, his gentle probing of Katie opens some old wounds and possibly makes a few new ones.

    The stress mounts on Katie as the detective's questions continue, and when she inexplicably starts catching glimpses of the missing Embry, Katie believes he has returned. When a chance encounter with the missing Embry proves her theory correct, she realises she may be getting a little more than she bargained for as her growing affections for Detective Handler and her lingering love for Embry are now at odds with each other.

    The story takes a sudden twist in the third act, but the meandering and at times excruciating pace of the first two thirds will leave you really not caring much in the end anyway. With Abandon, director Gaghan has attempted to give the "damsel in distress needs saving" routine a bit of a lick and polish and turn it into something fresh. Alas poor damsels, it doesn't quite work.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Despite the lacklustre performance of the film, the video transfer is very nice with really nothing of any consequence to complain about at all. It is finely detailed, sharp and consistent in colour, almost to the point of being a little too cold and clinical at times.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. It is also 16x9 enhanced.

    Overall sharpness is excellent, with finely detailed images and no obvious or over-the-top edge enhancement. In addition to a general dull pall that is cast over much of the film (it looks like minimal lighting was used), there are several very dark scenes, particularly towards the climax. While no shadow detail problems can be attributed to the transfer process, I suggest watching this in a darkened room, lest you miss the ending. There is virtually no bothersome grain and there is no low level noise.

    Colours, while not being particularly vivid or vibrant, are at least well rendered with no problems. Blacks are extremely solid and skin tones perfect.

    I couldn't pick any apparent MPEG artefacts. No aliasing or any other film to video artefacts are present. A couple of very minor film artefacts that in no way spoil the picture quality are present.

    There are plenty of subtitles available, including the oft-present English variety. I sampled them extensively and found them excellent, almost to the point of being perfect.

    This is a dual layered disc that is formatted RSDL. The layer change occurs at 49:43. It is very well placed, as I very nearly missed it the first time and was forced to rewind to verify its presence.

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

Audio

    There are four audio soundtracks present on this disc. An English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at the higher bitrate of 448 Kb/s is joined by a Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at the slightly lower bitrate of 384 Kb/s. Rounding out the quartet are Czech and Turkish Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtracks encoded at a bitrate of 192Kb/s. Both of these latter soundtracks are stereo offerings with the surround flag embedded in the bitstream.

    Dialogue is excellent with no obvious audio sync problems.

    Quite a moody and atmospheric score accompanies this film. Composed by Clint Mansell, it has all the hallmarks of a quality creepy thriller score. There are plenty of very quiet moments that slowly build the tension.

    There is really quite minimal surround activity, which, given the nature of the film with its purpose of giving us all a bit of a scare, was a little disappointing.

    The subwoofer sees some action. It's nothing over the top and is really quite seamless in its use.

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

Extras

Menu Animation & Audio

Biographies-Cast & Crew

    The usual biography and selected filmography for virtually the entire cast and a significant number of crew as well.

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 disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 disc misses out on;

    Obviously the Region 1 version is the preferred option here. Hopefully the Region 4 version will pick up a few of the extras when it moves from its rental window.

Summary

    Despite the premise of an original story, Abandon is your stock standard thriller and just takes too long to get anywhere. It meanders for the better part of 70 minutes before finally deciding what sort of story it is. The ending is a little unexpected, but by the time you get there you will most likely find yourselves deciding that any sort of ending will do.

    The video and audio quality is excellent.

    The extras barely register on the extras scale.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Friday, August 08, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5106DO, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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