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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Election (1999)

Election (1999)

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Released 4-Sep-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Audio Commentary-Alexander Payne (Director)
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 98:42
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (65:43) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Alexander Payne

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Matthew Broderick
Reese Witherspoon
Jessica Campbell
Chris Klein
Phil Reeves
Molly Hagan
Delaney Driscoll
Mark Harelik
Colleen Camp
Frankie Ingrassia
Joel Parks
Matt Malloy
Holmes Osborne
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music Rolfe Kent
Ennio Morricone

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English Audio Commentary
French Audio Commentary
Italian Audio Commentary
Spanish Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Based on the novel by Tom Perrotta, Election is the story of a high school student representative council presidential race that becomes an analogy for the US electoral system in general. It is also the story of those who succeed and those who do not, and never will.

    Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick) is a teacher of history and social sciences at Carver High School. When he learns that over-achieving student Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon) is running unopposed for student president, he encourages star quarterback and all-round popular nice guy Paul Metzler (Chris Klein) to run as well. Although Mr. McAllister does this largely out of a belief in the system of democracy – a choice of apples and oranges – he and Tracy also have a past. His best friend, and former Carver High teacher, was fired for an indiscretion with Tracy. Things get more complicated when Paul’s little sister, Tammy (Jessica Campbell), decides to run as well after she learns that her ex-girlfriend is now going out with him. Moreover, Mr. McAllister’s former best friend’s wife, and now best friend with his wife, starts coming onto him. And so the scene is set for a political b**** fight of extreme proportions that will leave relationships ruined and careers in shreds.

    With brilliantly straight-faced comic performances from Broderick, Witherspoon and Klein, Election is by far one of the funniest films I have ever seen, deserving a reputation beside other more intellectually stimulating comedic pieces such as Bob Roberts and American Beauty. While still quite different to either of those two films (as those two films are also quite different from each other), there are similar threads and techniques within all three that make Election as appealing. Rather than the slapstick or sexual romp humour of the American Pie series, Election delivers a brand of humour that is far more like laughing at ourselves for being exactly what we are – human and fallible. If you have not done so already, you should definitely check this one out.

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Transfer Quality


    Presented in 2.40:1, 16x9 enhanced, this is a slight widening of the image from the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. You are unlikely to be able to tell the difference.

    The quality of the picture is decent, but not perfect, and really does not stand up next to its R1 counterpart. Certainly, the image is well rendered and detailed, colours are fairly well saturated, and shadow detail is very good.

    However, where this transfer really lets itself down is in film-to-video artefacts. While MPEG artefacts are not readily prevalent, the image suffers from aliasing, moire effects and cross-colouration in distracting proportions. The various tweed jackets favoured by the faculty members exhibit all three of these faults, and the tiles on the roof of the Metzler residence in particular also refuse to behave and stay clear and sharp. Background aliasing on straight edges is also readily apparent, although perhaps not as obvious and distracting as these two previous faults.

    There are a few instances of rather obvious film artefacts, notably some white hairs and dots in the middle of the picture. These faults are also apparent in the R1 release and are a fault of the original source material. Other than that, the dirt is fairly minimal, although probably a little more than you would generally expect from a film of such recent vintage.

    Subtitles are available in English, Spanish, French, Hebrew, Croatian, Greek, Italian and Portuguese. They are white with a black border, clear and easy to read, and generally convey the dialogue adequately. Subtitles are also available for the director’s audio commentary in English, French, Italian and Spanish.

    The dual layer pause occurs at 65:43 during a fade to black. It is noticeable only because of a sudden drop in the music as it fades out.

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


    There are four soundtracks available (not including the director’s audio commentary). These are English, French, Italian and Spanish, all in 5.1 Dolby Digital.

    The foreign language tracks are acceptable, but the overdub tends to reduce the surround information and drown out ambience, coming instead to dominate the track entirely.

    The original English track is quite good. Dialogue is clear and easy to understand throughout and there are no audio sync problems.

    There are plenty of directional cues across the front of the sound field, but nothing much from the rear. This is a fairly dialogue-driven show, so that is hardly expected. The rears are mainly used to add depth and ambience to the score.

    Subwoofer use is very lean and I cannot recall any real instance where I saw it put into action by this track.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



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

Audio Commentary – Alexander Payne (Director)

    Presented in 2.0 Dolby Surround, Payne’s commentary is one of the more illuminating ones that I have come across, and is definitely worth a listen. Payne does tire out a little towards the end when pauses become a little more apparent and you can tell he is struggling to find something to talk about.

R4 vs R1

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

    The R1 version of this disc is largely identical in terms of features, although it is decidedly lacking in language options. However, the picture quality is infinitely better, exhibiting none of the film-to-video transfer artefacts that ruin the R4 release. For quality in terms of transfer, I am giving this one to R1.


    Election is a very amusing film, mocking everything from politics to infidelity. It is far from a conventional comedy, and lacks anything in the way of ‘gag’ sequences. Think more Bob Roberts political satire kind of humour and you are there. If you like that kind of thing, this is fantastic.

    The video transfer is just barely acceptable, but highly prone to film-to-video transfer artefacts that can be quite distracting. This is annoying, particularly as the R1 version does not exhibit these problems.

    Sound is nicely rendered, but is nothing you would use to demonstrate your system's capabilities.

    The sole extra is pretty good.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Tuesday, January 13, 2004
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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