WillFull (2001)

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Released 18-Mar-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio
Gallery-On Set Montage
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 92:18 (Case: 96)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Rebel Russell
Studio
Distributor
Latent Image
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring C. Thomas Howell
Anna Lise Phillips
Anne Looby
Charles 'Bud' Tingwell
John Gaden
Jennifer Claire
Ellesha Dobbs
Felix Williamson
Christopher Stollery
Ted Cahill
Ken Cameron
Charlie Hooke
Nick Atkinson
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $36.95 Music Anthony Partos


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

     The cover of WillFull exclaims "From the producers of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert," which is a bit of a misdirection, as this film has much less of the charm or cohesion of that particular blockbuster. Instead, what we get is a curious little story of haunting and hope that never quite lifts off the ground.

     Catherine (Anna Lise Phillips) is the product of privilege and comfortable means, who has largely eschewed her comfortable New South Wales town and country heritage to join an American motivational seminar team. She enjoys a relationship with its front man, Nat Wolf (C. Thomas Howell) and an uneasy détente with the company owner, Cyn (Nicky Wendt). The team's first trip to Australia coincides with the death of Catherine's 76 year old mother, Katya, to cancer. Catherine, or Cat, as she is known, is struggling under a mountain of pressures - the difficulties that the company has in adapting to an Australian, cynical culture; their problems with an impending law suit; and the not-so-welcome news that she finds herself pregnant. So the very last thing she needs is her mother's presence as she returns from the grave to reconcile matters with her daughter, but appearing as an apparition aged about 36 years old, and glamorous, glamorous, glamorous. Can Cat and Katya amend the differences and difficulties that they could never reconcile whilst Katya was alive? Whilst Katya's ghostly presence is very much visible to the hapless Cat, no-one else can see her, so needless to say, many have grave concerns about Catherine's sanity as she talks to thin air and apparently rants to the breeze.

     WillFull as a cinematic piece is not without some charm, but it never really seems to fully develop in any satisfying way. Anne Looby is quite convincing as the glamorous and wilful Katya, playing her with a flamboyant pathos that seems correctly pitched *just* under the bar of caricature. Phillips, however, never appears particularly comfortable in her role as Cat. Her performance is self-conscious and occasionally quite "stagey" - with gestures and mannerisms better suited to the proscenium than the more intimate medium of film. The writing seems to lack cohesion at times, and leaves us with a script of barely fleshed characters who do little to gain our sympathy or empathy. Even the normally reliable Charles "Bud" Tingwell cannot seem to rescue the pacing or lack of thematic heart in this piece.

     Ultimately, what remains is a sprawling yarn which feels unfocused and forgettable. Katya's costuming deservedly won designer George Liddle an AFI award nomination, but it simply proves that clothes doth not a production make.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Visually, this film's transfer was quite good.

     The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced.

     The transfer was generally very crisp, bright and clean. There was no low level noise present, contrast levels were quite good and the grain was fine and smooth.

     The colours were rich and lush, although occasionally Katya's reds went a little beyond the transfer's capabilities, resulting in some colour blocking.

     There were no MPEG artefacts seen. Aliasing is very rare and very mild when it does occur. Film artefacts are very rare and not distracting at all.

     There were no subtitles available on this disc.

     This disc is a single sided, single layered disc with no layer change with which to contend.

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

Audio

     The disc is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 sound only.

     Mostly dialogue was audible and clear, with the occasional muffle requiring a replay to verify what had been said. There was a slight problem with audio sync early in the film, but this seemed to pretty much correct itself within the first 10 minutes or so. There was the presence of a slight hiss in the soundtrack that was quite irritating, and the audio qualities overall brought down the production value of this disc.

    The musical score by Anthony Partos was a little bit of a mish-mash of various ideas, with the result that it provided little thematic continuity. It underscored the dilemma that seemed to be unresolved in this piece - was it a comedy with dramatic moments, or a drama with comedic moments?

     There was no surround presence n or subwoofer activity.

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

Extras

Menu

     The menu design is themed around the movie. It is 16x9 enhanced and static with the theme music presented through it.

Theatrical Trailer

     This is presented in 1.33:1 format and runs for 1:45.

On The Set Montage (1:59)

     Behind the scenes look at the set of the homestead. Nothing particularly revealing to see.

Features:

     A series of brief interviews that can be played individually or you can select "Play All" to get the lot.

    All are presented in 1.33:1.

R4 vs R1

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

     This film does not appear to be available in any other format than R4.

Summary

     What appears onscreen in WillFull is reasonably pleasant and, thanks to Anne Looby, it enjoys some flamboyant moments, but overall it appears to be a little unsure of itself. It is lovingly filmed and the transfer is visually pleasant, but its plot flaws and thematic jaggedness may leave some feeling a little unsatisfied.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Mirella Roche-Parker (read my bio)
Wednesday, December 24, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDSinger SGD-001, using S-Video output
DisplayTeac 76cm Widescreen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationTeac 5.1 integrated system
SpeakersTeac 5.1 integrated system

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