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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.
Erskineville Kings (1999)

Erskineville Kings (1999)

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Released 8-Mar-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Alan White (Director) And Marty Denniss (Writer)
Deleted Scenes
Gallery-Photographic Montage And Audition Montage
Music Video
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-The Rage In Placid Lake, Japanese Story, I'm With Lucy
Trailer-Kurt And Courtney, Eat Drink Man Woman, Respiro
Trailer-The Best Man's Wedding, Myy Wife Is An Actress
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 82:14 (Case: 90)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Alan White
Beyond Films
Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Marty Denniss
Hugh Jackman
Andrew Wholley
Aaron Blabey
Joel Edgerton
Leah Vandenberg
Marin Mimica
Lauren Clair
Louise Birgan
Roy Billing
Roxane Wilson
John Alansu
Mercia Deane-Johns
Case ?
RPI $31.95 Music Don Miller-Robinson

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
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 Yes, Carlton United Brewing are happy campers.
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
William Shakespeare, Macbeth (Act V, Scene V)

     I open with the Bard because this particular passage kept swelling through my mind as I watched this urban drama play out before me. These "kings" of all the bedraggled land they surveyed - its down-heeled bars; its fly-blown cafes; its bong smoke filled, beer drizzled living rooms; its graffitied streets and boarded shops - all the detritus of a landscape the city chooses to forget - these "kings" are noble souls struggling to make their hour upon the stage count for something.

     Barky (Marty Denniss) has come home after several years "Up North" to attend the funeral of his abusive father, who has died after suffering a stroke. This is a major and traumatic confrontation with his past, made none the easier by the hostile reception meted out to him by his brother, Wace (Hugh Jackman). Over the course of the one eventful day prior to the burial, the two brothers are forced to challenge their beliefs, their actions and their memories, with cataclysmic results.

     That really is the backbone of the story, and to tell too much more would spoil the entire experience of watching this film. As director Alan White and writer Marty Denniss point out in the commentary, this is a film where you piece things together over the course of the story, much as one does in real life. Suffice it to say that it's a fascinating exploration of how people with shared history don't necessarily have shared memory. While Barky sees the emotional abandonment and physical violence of his father as the principal problem, Wace lays the blame more squarely at their mother's feet for abandoning them all. Either way, both feel lost, alone and ill-at-ease with themselves and their world. It is a study of relationships - both familial and amongst friends, and what we draw upon to make us strong enough to survive.

     I found it interesting to have reviewed Radiance a month or so ago, and now Erskineville Kings - they are almost counterpoint stories in some ways. Both are about trying to break from the bonds of the past to have whole, healed lives and relationships in the future; and both are about the reconciliatory power of truth. This is a gritty, urban drama with some wonderful, naturalistic performances by all the performers concerned. Although it generally keeps the audience a little aloof from the action, it is a moving and thought-provoking piece that I found very worthwhile.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


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

     Overall, this is a tad soft, which is a shame, given the sharp, gritty content of the drama. Grain levels were excellent and there was no low level noise, and generally, the detail was acceptable, although a little blocky in the shadows.

     The colour palette was extremely rich and lush, with very well rendered colours and good skin tones.

     With the exception of mild motion blur and minor aliasing, the transfer was pretty good. There were only a few dust specks to be seen, and these did not affect the display to any great degree.

     There were no subtitles available on this disc.

     I detected no layer change on this disc.

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


     There are two audio tracks on this DVD. The default is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. There is also an English Audio Commentary track, with Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded sound. I listened to both soundtracks.

     The dialogue was very clear throughout and well modulated. Audio sync presented no problems.

     The music was provided at cost price, according to the commentary, by various local bands, and was a spectacular success. Every song was well-fitted to its use in the film, and provided a gritty backdrop to the action.

     The surround channels were well used throughout the production, not in a flashy manner, but to create a realistic soundscape for the action. The subwoofer was used in the same appropriate manner.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     A good selection of extras are present.


     The menu is static with music from the soundtrack as background.

Audio Commentary - Alan White (Director) and Marty Denniss (Writer)

     With White in the left speaker and Denniss in the right, it was always easy to tell who was speaking. The commentary was rather patchy with some very long pauses in commentary, but there was some interesting information imparted along the way.

Deleted Scenes & Montage

     There is one deleted scene, Wayne Gets A Haircut, which was no significant loss to the film. The montage incorporated some wonderful photographs and audition grabs and was a genuinely interesting addition (12:22).

Music Video

     4 minute film clip of the band plus clips from the movie.


     Some good information on Hugh Jackman; Marty Denniss; Aaron Blabey; Joel Edgerton; Andrew Whelley; Leah Vandenburg and Alan White.

Photo Gallery

     45 pictures mixed between behind the scenes and film shots.


     2:33 - a good representation of the film.

More From Palace Films

     Trailers for:

Rage in Placid Lake; Japanese Story; I'm With Lucy; Kurt and Courtney

More From The World Cinema Collection

     Trailers for:

Eat, Drink Man Woman; Respiro; The Best Man's Wedding; My Wife Is An Actress.

R4 vs R1

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

     This looks like a local show only, so it's R4 all the way.


     It's gritty, it deals with the banal and the profound with an almost even hand, it's raw and it's naturalistic. Its filmic style is almost majestic in place, perhaps fitting in a film about "kings" - but if the "F" word presents you with a challenge, you're going to have to steer well clear of this little number. I really enjoyed it - if "enjoy" is the right word. I found the performances to be excellent, and, whilst somewhat bleak, it didn't try to schmaltz its way out of the material. A worthwhile watch.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Mirella Roche-Parker (read my bio)
Friday, February 27, 2004
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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