Lucky Break (2001)

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Released 21-Apr-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio
Scene Selection Audio
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 103:54
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (68:23) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Peter Cattaneo

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring James Nesbitt
Olivia Williams
Timothy Spall
Bill Nighy
Lenny James
Christopher Plummer
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI ? Music Anne Dudley

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/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 for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, additional scenes during end credits

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

Plot Synopsis

    This film is directed by Peter Cattaneo, who was also responsible for The Full Monty. The films have similar themes about men in dire and depressing circumstances who somehow manage to transcend their adversity via song and dance, and using nothing more than their pluck, optimism, hope and sheer good luck. Along the way, they are reminded of what it means to be human and to be alive.

    Jimmy Hands (James Nesbitt) and his good pal Rudy 'Rud' Guscott (Lennie James) are two incompetent criminals who have been in and out of trouble ever since they were kids. Their latest caper, a bank robbery, goes horribly wrong and they are sentenced to 12 years imprisonment.

    Halfway through their incarceration, they get transferred to a new prison and a Lucky Break - an opportunity to escape. The easiest place to do it is via the old chapel which unfortunately is off-limits. Fortunately, the governor Graham Mortimer (Christopher Plummer) is a fan of musicals. Jimmy manages to convince the governor to stage the world premiere of the governor's very own musical adaptation of the life and times of Admiral Nelson in the chapel, and persuades some of his fellow inmates to join him in his cunning escape plan - to escape during the finale of the opening night performance amidst the commotion.

    The various inmates include Cliff (Timothy Spall), Roger (Bill Nighy), Darren (Raymond Waring) and Lenny (John Pierce Jones). As you would expect, they all have their individual quirky traits and personalities.

    Unfortunately, a few complications nearly derail the plan. Prison guard Perry (Ron Cook) learns of the plot and is determined to stop the lads. New inmate John Toombes (Frank Harper) wants to be included and won't take no for an answer. And Jimmy starts falling in love with Annabel Sweep (Olivia Williams), who runs the Prisoner Support Unit.

    When the big day arrives, will the inmates succeed in their daring plan, or will they get trapped by Perry? Even worse, Jimmy has to make the hardest decision of his life: continue with the escape or stay behind and gain the love of Annabel.

    I found this an enjoyable and light-hearted film that is easy to watch. It doesn't quite recapture the magic of The Full Monty, but it has a charm of its own.

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Transfer Quality


    This is a widescreen 16x9 enhanced transfer, using the intended aspect ratio of 2.35:1. There is a black border around the frame, but the black bars on the sides should normally be hidden by the overscan in your display.

    The film source is a very clean 35mm print. The resultant transfer is pretty much reference quality, with lots of low level detail, good contrast range and perfect colour saturation, even for many of the dull and bleak scenes.

    I found it difficult to spot any artefacts, apart from occasional edge enhancement haloing, very slight Gibb's effect ringing, some shimmering during the end titles, and minimal grain.

    There is only one subtitle track: English for the Hearing Impaired. It tends to place dialogue underneath the speaker, and occasionally does dialogue attribution for off-screen dialogue. Various foley effects are also transcribed, as are lyrics to songs.

    This is a single sided dual layered disc, formatted RSDL. The layer change is well placed near the beginning of Chapter 13 at 68:23 during a natural screen pause on Jimmy in solitary confinement. It should not be noticeable unless you are very observant.

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


    Surprisingly, we get not only the "standard" English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448kb/s) track but also an English dts 5.1 (768kb/s) track, and what a wonderful dts track it is too. Everything is crystal clear with lots of subtle detail plus a full-bodied sound that make the Dolby Digital 5.1 track a bit harsh by comparison.

    Dialogue is as you would expect, excellent, and there are no issues with audio synchronization.

    It's a pity that the film is rather dialogue-focused resulting in a soundstage that's mainly front biased. At least the surround channels are used every now and then for background music.

    The subwoofer only appears to be lightly utilized.

    As the film is about the production of a musical, there are lots of singing of various excerpts from the musical. Incidental background music seems to be a combination of whimsical light, vaguely jazzy, instrumental music and some orchestral interjections. The original music score is by Anne Dudley.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    This is a rental only release, so there is no extras whatsoever.


    The menus are 16x9 enhanced. There is background audio present. There is an animated intro, plus menu transitions.

R4 vs R1

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

    This is a rental only release so it's not fair to comment on the missing extras from the R2 release, which include:

    The R4 release does at least feature a wonderful dts track.

    This film has yet to be released in R1.


    Lucky Break is about a group of prisoners in a prison who attempt to escape by staging a musical production in an old chapel.

    The video transfer quality is reference quality.

    The audio transfer quality is excellent.

    Unfortunately, being a rental release, there are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Tuesday, September 02, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD-RP82, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). 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 AVC-A1SE (upgraded)
SpeakersFront and surrounds: B&W CDM7NT, front centre: B&W CDMCNT, surround backs: B&W DM601S2, subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

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