Rosewood (1997)

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Released 14-Oct-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action None
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 136:07
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (67:57) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By John Singleton

Warner Home Video
Starring Jon Voight
Ving Rhames
Don Cheadle
Bruce McGill
Loren Dean
Esther Rolle
Michael Rooker
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $14.90 Music John Williams

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/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
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

††† It is the 1930s in Florida. Racism is still in full swing and lynchings are fairly common place. The Klan is a respected way of life and black people are generally segregated to live in their own communities. In the town of Sumner, a white woman falsely accuses a black man from the nearby town of Rosewood of raping her. This sends the poor white trash of Sumner into a frenzy and they embark upon a witch hunt in Rosewood. Mr. Mann (Ving Rhames), a black drifter and ex-soldier who fought in the trenches in World War I, has just come into town and fallen in love with a local girl. He quickly leaves believing he will be lynched, assuming things will blow over in a couple of weeks and he will be able to return to the girl he loves. However, things get out of hand, and when some of the black townsfolk start to fight back, Rosewood turns into a massacre with men, women and children being tortured and lynched. When Mann learns of this, he returns to Rosewood to save the woman he loves and the group of children she is caring for, enlisting the aid of a conscientious white man, John Wright (Jon Voight), who runs the local store in Rosewood.

††† I was going to be subtle about this, but Iím sorry, I just canít. I have never seen a film treat such serious subject matter with such utter disrespect. Director John Singleton (of Boyz N The Hood fame) should be utterly ashamed of himself for this travesty of a movie. I am not talking about the politics of welfare and racial issues in America being dragged up for exploitation in the media again and again. If you want to talk racial politics go elsewhere. I am merely talking about bad, bad, BAD film making. Rosewood has a mediocre First Act, which lulls you into thinking this might be okay if you can forgive some bad clichťs and crappy acting. However, it has a lousy Second Act and an utterly appalling and bordering on farcical Third Act.

††† This film pulls out every clichť, every overused and tiresome drivel piece of dialogue, everything that is bad about cinema, all for its finale and the result is just unforgivable. What should have been a harrowing tale of brutality is so poorly executed in its try-hard attempts to be Hollywood that it winds up reminding me of The Mummy Returns, only that that film had more class, style and substance. I could have written a better script. Hell, Grade 6 kids could have written a better script.

††† The best analogy I can consider were if Spielberg, while making Schindlerís List, thought it would be a great idea for Indiana Jones to jump into the middle of the movie and save all the Jews. Think about that for a minute. You have the Nazis lining up the Jews and machine-gunning them down, and then in waltzes Harrison Ford with his hat and his whip and his gun and he single-handedly saves the lot from deportation to Auschwitz. He gets slaps on the back by the survivors and it turns out also that some of the Jews that were machine-gunned are not dead after all, and so everybody lives happily ever after. Thatís kind of what Rosewood is like. And, no, Iím not joking.

††† Iím going to go and see if you can flick a DVD over a house with a simple wrist action Ė Iíve watched people do it with beer caps and Iím kind of tempted to see if a DVD can go that far. Three guesses as to which DVD Iím going to use ... and the first two guesses donít count.

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Transfer Quality


††† Presented in 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced, this is the original aspect ratio.

††† Warner Home Video seem to have already gauged just how bad this film is and have wasted little bother with a nice transfer. The picture is very soft, bordering on blurry. Not the kind of soft-filter focus soft either, but the kind of out-of focus blurry indicative of a very careless transfer.

††† The colour palette is also strangely off, and I canít quite work out if it is too red or too green, but either way it just looks plain funny. This is a PAL transfer rather than an NTSC transfer, but it has not been transferred exceptionally well.

††† There were no glaring MPEG artefacts, but there is persistent background low-level noise which is at times quite bad and quite distracting. The shot of the skyline at 131:41 going into the closing credits is just an awful grainy pixelated mess.

††† I noticed a bit of dirt on the print, particularly during scene changes.

††† The dual layer pause is about the worst Iíve ever seen. It lies at 67:57 during a fade-in with audio. However, it has been so poorly done that after the pause it goes back to the start of the fade-out before the fade-in and repeats the silence and then the rising audio. Eeesh. Warner Home Video really didnít care about this release, did they?

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


††† The only soundtrack available is an English 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround track.

††† Dialogue is understandable when itís meant to be intelligible and I didnít notice any audio sync issues.

††† The score is okay, although why gospel music was heavily relied upon baffles me because it does not gel well with the Hollywood bravado and crap clichť dialogue. The range in the audio track is quite decent, and there was plenty of active surround information.

††† The subwoofer gets a good workout during various shoot-outs and houses burning down.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



††† All menus are presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, and silent.

R4 vs R1

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

††† Barring the NTSC colour format used in the US, the versions would appear to be identical. Buy whichever is cheapest.


††† Rosewood could have been a great film if executed in any number of ways other than this way. As it stands, this film really sucks and is an insult to the victims of this tragedy.

††† The video is substandard and the dual-layer pause adds insult to injury.

††† The sound is decent but nothing exceptional.

††† I would have liked an audio commentary hearing Singleton defend his work, but honestly I think this travesty is just indefensible.

††† Itís time to go play DVD Frisbee.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Saturday, October 25, 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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Comments (Add)
Sorry but you must have seen a different film than I - Hartwig Hanser REPLY POSTED
Racism - wolfgirv
Biased Review - Anonymous REPLY POSTED