After the Deluge (2003)

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Released 9-Dec-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Before The Deluge
Biographies-Character
Audio Commentary-Selected Scenes (10)
Multiple Angles-Selected Scenes (10) And Additional Footage
Additional Footage-4 Scenes, With Commentary
TV Spots-5
Featurette-Visual Effects, With Commentary
Music Highlights-Soundtrack - Deluge Opening Credits, Love At War
Notes-The Coxknight Story
Trailer-Crashburn, Worst Best Friends
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 193:12
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Brendan Maher
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring David Wenham
Hugo Weaving
Samuel Johnson
Aden Young
Catherine McClements
Ray Barrett
Rachel Griffiths
Essie Davis
Kate Beahan
Vince Colosimo
Marta Dusseldorp
Bob Franklin
Marco Chiappi
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI $34.95 Music Cezary Skubiszewski


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

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Plot Synopsis

    Australian writers are some of the finest in the industry. We often make TV series that are amongst the best in their genre, shows such as Sea Change and Wild Side. Occasionally, we make a groundbreaking piece of small screen history, a story that is intrinsically Australian and yet able to melt across cultural borders. In 1991 we had Brides of Christ. In 2001 we had Changi. In 2003, writer Andrew Knight, one of the minds behind Sea Change and Crashburn, brought us After The Deluge.

    The plot of this tale is simple yet complex; it follows the lives of three brothers who are brought together to care for their dad who is slowly degenerating into the psychosis of Alzheimer’s disease; memories of lost love and the trauma of a war best forgotten. Of the three sons, we have the eldest Martin (Hugo Weaving), a former bad-boy musician who is now struggling with lost fame and glory and wondering what life might have been like had he used his musical talents otherwise. Then there is Alex (David Wenham), the middle child, a gifted architect who has sacrificed his family in the name of his career and only now realises the damage he has done to those he loves. And finally there is Toby (Samuel Johnson), by far the youngest of the three, all but ignored by his father during his childhood, and now struggling to start a family of his own.

    While inviting comparison to Jonathan Franzen’s critically acclaimed novel The Corrections, in that both stories deal with families coming together and breaking apart over the mental health of the father figure, After The Deluge is, in this critic’s view at least, the weaker of the two, somehow seeming a little uneven and not quite so well rounded as it perhaps should have been. I am not detracting from the considerable merits of this film – the contemporary drama elements are done exceptionally well. But After The Deluge has some difficulty when blurring time periods, failing to capture the pre-war and post-war Australia that Changi did so well, and being obviously limited by budgetary constraints at some junctures.

    Where After The Deluge really shines, however, is on the acting front. The cast as a whole is exceptional, with Weaving, Wenham and Johnson, already accomplished actors, putting in fine performances throughout as the three brothers. Rachel Griffiths also brings a certain charm and charisma to the show with her role as Annie, a cafe owner who has become Martin’s hope for salvation.

    In time, I am sure, After The Deluge will come to be remembered as an Australian classic of the small screen. While not perfect, there is something about it that stays in your mind long after the final credits, and I have found myself returning to it and finding more upon each visit. Definitely worth seeing.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, this is the original aspect ratio.

    Sadly, we have not been given the best transfer. The image has a persistent graininess which often disintegrates into low-level noise. Each edit from angle to angle, scene to scene is also marred by a sudden intensity of low-level noise.

    Colours are reasonably well saturated while still maintaining a ‘real life’ feel, but shadow detail leaves a lot to be desired, and I found myself struggling to discern the on screen imagery at times.

    Other than the ongoing low-level noise, there are some other distracting film-to-video transfer artefacts – moire on grill plating and the like is a bit of a problem, but more annoyingly is the apparent posterisation during facial close ups. Furthermore, there is an extremely nasty MPEG glitch at 77:39 - 77:42 on Disc 2 which I am not at all sure is also the point of the dual-layer pause on that disc. Cleaning the disc has yielded no improvement and I can only conclude that this was indeed a fault in the transfer process.

    Dirt and other film artefacts are minimal.

    The dual-layer pause on Disc 1 occurs at 43:45. It is during a scene chance and while noticeable is not distracting. The dual-layer pause on Disc 2 is, I believe, lost in the MPEG glitch at 77:39 - 77:42.

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

Audio

    Audio is available in English 2.0 Dolby Stereo only. Given that this is apparently what the show was originally filmed in, I will not quibble too much. And the fact that this series is a drama means that the use of surround sound in action sequences is not a necessity. That said, with all the wonderful music in this movie, especially the immaculate score by Cezary Skubiszewski (who also did the score for The Rage In Placid Lake), a 5.1 Dolby Digital remix would have been nice.

    The clarity of this audio track is fairly good, and I had no real issue discerning dialogue, and there were no apparent sync issues. The range is acceptable but not perfect, limited by the confines of stereo.

    There are not numerous occasions of directional cues, and the only real use of such directional audio was in capturing the direction traffic was travelling in.

    There is no subwoofer use.

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

Extras

Menus

    All menus are presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. The main menu has a short clip from the film that does not really give much away, and a 2.0 Dolby Stereo audio track.

Disc 1

Documentary – “Before The Deluge” (29:51)

    Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Stereo, this is an extensive documentary talking about the conception of the film, revolving around extensive interviews with writer Andrew Knight, director Brendan Maher, composer Cezary Skubiszewski, and production designer Jo Ford.

Characters

    Series of 12 stills featuring biographical information about the principal cast.

Disc 2

Audio Commentary – Selected Scenes

    Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Stereo, there are ten selected scenes with an audio commentary. The commentators appear inset on a small frame talking while the scene is being played, or you can use the multi-angle function to switch it around so that the scene from the film appears in the small frame and the commentators appear in the larger frame:

Additional Scenes

    Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Stereo, there are four scenes that were re-shot and added during editing. They appear here with audio commentary identical to the set up above:

Visual Effects (10:18)

    Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Stereo, this is a clip looking at the various visual effects sequences during the film with audio commentary by visual FX producer Sigi Eimutis.

Soundtrack

    Two tracks from the film soundtrack – “Opening Credits” (1:35) and “Love At War” (5:30) – which can be played from the DVD in 2.0 Dolby Stereo complete with montage video clips from the film in 1.78:1 16x9 enhanced.

Coxknight Story

    Three stills outlining the history of Coxknight Productions.

Crashburn Trailer (2:40)

    Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Stereo, this is a trailer for the Crashburn series currently running on TV.

Worst Best Friends Trailer (2:31)

    Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Stereo, this is a trailer for the Worst Best Friends series also produced by Coxknight.

R4 vs R1

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

    This film has not currently been released on DVD in R1.

Summary

    After The Deluge is an impressive piece of Australian cinema. Although imperfect, there are moments of clarity in here which border on genius, due largely to the impressive script. This one is definitely worth seeing.

    Video is sadly grainy as all get out and prone to pixelisation. Plus, it is marred by a shocking MPEG glitch right in the middle of an emotional climax.

    The sound is available only in 2.0 Dolby Stereo, which is a shame given the impressive score which was worthy of a 5.1 Dolby Digital remaster.

    The extras are excellent, and well worth your time.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Thursday, February 26, 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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Appalling R1 - Amanda P