The Nameless (Los Sin Nombre) (1999)

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Tentatively Due Out for Sale 13-Feb-2004
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Audio & Animation
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 95:15 (Case: 99)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (48:26) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jaume Balaguero
Studio
Distributor

Imagine Entertainment
Starring Emma Vilarasau
Karra Elejalde
Tristan Ulloa
Pep Tosar
Jordi Dauder
Toni Sevilla
Carlos Lasarte
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI ? Music Carles Cases


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 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

    Los Sin Nombre is a curious and disturbing film from director Jaume Balaguero, blending the intense shock value of Se7en with the sharp editing and beautiful visual style of The Ring. Bear in mind that this film was actually made years before the Hollywood remake of The Ring and shares a very similar ambience, in fact I would not be surprised if Los Sin Nombre influenced the director in some way.

    In this Spanish language film, a nine year old girl is found murdered and appears to have suffered the tortures of the damned at the hands of her captors. The gruesome find is relieving for Claudia and her husband, who lost their child in mysterious circumstances and have been eagerly awaiting any news of the fate of their daughter. The news is not good, and closure has a way of making people rethink their priorities.

    Cut to five years later and Claudia is still quietly suffering but is now estranged from her former husband. Just as she begins to feel the past falling behind her she starts receiving intense phone calls from someone claiming to be her daughter, begging for help. Then begins the quest to discover what really happened all those years ago and more importantly was it in fact her daughter that was the victim?

    The screenplay is based on a novel by British author Ramsay Campbell and makes for compelling viewing. I was thrilled by the pace and the depth of the performances, as well as the incredible direction and visual style.

    Los Sin Nombre is a great foreign language film and is at least worth a rental if you are into thrillers of the psychological kind.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This transfer looks very good, despite it not being 16x9 enhanced. The image is framed in the film's original theatrical ratio of 1.85:1.

    There is a lot of detail evident in the transfer, although some scenes seem to take on a soft appearance. I was surprised by the level of sharpness that could be seen in skin textures and the like, such as the detailed wrinkles at 66:58. This is a generally dark and gloomy film, with very little in the way of bright colouring or lighting. Blacks appeared solid and consistent, with good shadow detail. I didn't notice any low level noise in this transfer.

    A significant amount of colour grading has been carried out on this film, reducing the depth of colour to the point where the transfer almost appears black and white. Skin tones are consistently very pale and washed out, with a sickly appearance. There are absolutely no bright splashes of colour to be found, so oversaturation and bleeding are not issues here.

    MPEG artefacts are thankfully absent. Aliasing popped its head up a few times; on a shoulder at 10:12 and a balcony railing at 19:00, but these were not too distracting. Film artefacts were only of the smallest variety and consisted merely of specks of dust and the odd hair (16:18) but were in no way dominating and in fact are hardly noticeable.

    Being a foreign language film, the English subtitle stream is important and is activated by default. The subtitles flow well with the dialogue on screen and are presented in an easy to read font, comprised of white lettering with a black border. I noted three spelling and grammatical errors during the film, and these irritated me a little because I was forced to go back and re-read the mistakes in order to work out what was being said. The subtitle stream appears in the bottom black bar of the picture and sometimes overlaps into the frame itself. I found that the best viewing option was to manually switch my 16x9 monitor to 14x9 and nudge the frame upwards so that only the top black bar was cut off, and this worked nicely.

    This disc is RSDL formatted, with the layer change occurring during the feature at 48:62 during a loud, active moment in the film that considerably disrupts the viewer. This is one of the most noticeable layer transitions I have seen since Dog Soldiers and considering the large number of silent or dark moments in the film that would lend themselves to an unrecognisable layer change, this is a very poor effort on the part of the disc's authors.

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

Audio

    There is only one audio track on the disc, the film's original language of Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0.

    Dialogue is always clear and easy to discern from the complex audio mix and although my Spanish could be better I found no problem in picking up the odd phrase here and there. I couldn't find any audio sync issues with this transfer.

    The soundtrack score is absolutely sublime and complements the tension of the film well. The musical pieces vary in style and begin with very simple melodies consisting of a single piano, contrasted later in the feature by dramatic vocal choruses with vast, complex arrangements and harmonies. This really is a fantastic score and is worth the price of a rental alone.

    Our Dolby Digital 2.0 track is not flagged in any way, but performed magnificently with Pro Logic II enabled - in fact this soundtrack performed better than some six channel soundtracks I have heard lately. Ambient noise flows consistently from the rear channels, as well as distant train echoes (12:27) and rumbling thunder (10:50). The subwoofer also picked up on the thunder effects and added a bit of bottom end, however it wasn't utilised to any great degree. Altogether, I was pleasantly surprised by the activity and range of this soundtrack after surround processing.

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu contains a small amount of animation and is not 16x9 enhanced. Audio accompaniment consists of a segment from the brilliant choir piece in the soundtrack score.

Trailer (2:02)

    This is an interesting trailer that replicates the fast editing of the film and displays some flashes of the highly disturbing imagery, without giving too much of the plot away. It is presented in 1.85:1 without 16x9 enhancement and includes Dolby Digital 2.0 Spanish audio. English subtitles are burned into the video stream.

R4 vs R1

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

    This title doesn't appear to be available in Region 1, however Region 2 have made available two releases of this film on DVD, in both a standard and a Special Edition format. The first Region 2 release contains the following:

    The more recently released Region 2 Special Edition features:

    Can you guess what I'm going to buy on my next Region 2 shopping spree?

Summary

    Los Sin Nombre is an intriguing thriller that will remain in the back of your mind for some time, and comes highly recommended for fans of classic thrillers such as The Ring and Se7en.

    The video transfer is a little soft in places, but looks great. Although we have a widescreen image it is not 16x9 enhanced, which is a shame.

    The stereo original Spanish language track performs well on its own, but is highly immersive when processed with Pro Logic II.

    The only extra is a trailer.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Rob Giles (readen de bio, bork, bork, bork.)
Wednesday, November 26, 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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