Scenes of the Crime (2001)

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Released 19-Nov-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, Identity, Terminator 3
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 87:19
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Dominique Forma
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Jeff Bridges
Jon Abrahams
R. Lee Ermey
Mädchen Amick
Morris Chestnut
Kerri Randles
Noah Wyle
Henry Rollins
Jack Forbes
Peter Greene
Bob Gunton
Brian Goodman
Nicholas Gonzalez
Case ?
RPI ? Music Christopher Young


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/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 English
French
Arabic
Hindi
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Scenes Of The Crime is one really strange film and certainly unlike anything I have seen in recent years. Things get off to quite a good start with a couple of big names in the cast, most notably led by Jeff Bridges, with support from Morris Chestnut, Bob Gunton, and even ER's Noah Wyle taking on the role of a mob heavy (I know it's hard to believe - Dr John Carter with a gun and a menacing frown!). The story is reasonably original, with most of the action played out in the back of a van, and it is quite artistically shot, with zooming cameras and some real stylish composition. But there is one big problem - and it's this rather large problem that makes this film appear so different to anything I have seen recently. Unfortunately, the whole thing really does feel like it hasn't been finished. The end credits roll just as things are about to get interesting, providing us with several unfinished plot lines and little idea about what happens next. All we get is the highly contrived and ultra-cheap solution of a "where are they now" screen of text at the end to conveniently wrap things up. It really does look like the whole production ran out of cash and simply couldn't continue.

    Jon Abrahams is Lenny Burroughs. Lenny is in his twenties and due to be married to his lovely fiancé Donna (Kerri Randles) in a little over a week. He's a struggling mechanic who is desperately trying to build a clientele to keep the business going. Until that happens he makes some extra cash on the side by being a driver for a local heavy named Rick (Peter Greene) who works for a crime boss named Trevor (Brian Goodman). As the film starts, Rick has a simple task for Lenny on this bright and sunny day. He simply has to drive Rick to a house so he can deliver a present. He is told to wait around in the alley behind the house and Rick will come and get him. What Lenny doesn't know is that Rick is actually going to the house of a rival crime boss Jimmy Berg (Jeff Bridges). He plans to kidnap Jimmy and force his partner Steven (Bob Gunton) to hand over a serious amount of cash that has recently been lost in a deal gone bad. Things start off well with Jimmy being kidnapped and bundled into a van. But from then on the plan goes awry.

    Rick somehow manages to end up getting killed by the heavies employed by Steven. In a role seriously against type, ER's Noah Wyle plays Seth, the main heavy for crime boss Steven, and an extremely cool and calculating heavy he is. Unsure of what is happening Lenny basically panics, grabs Rick's gun, and continues to keep Jimmy hostage in the van, much to the mirth of Seth and his fellow heavies, who know Lenny is just a driver with very little knowledge about what is happening and even less desire to kill someone with the gun he is waving around manically. But Lenny has the gun and it's pointed directly at Jimmy, so there isn't a whole lot to do but wait - and that's the instruction that has come from Steven.

    What plays out is a game of cat and mouse as Jimmy and Lenny talk inside the van and Seth and his fellow heavies plot on how best to get them both out of the van without attracting the attention of the police. Several innocent people manage to get involved in the stakeout, including the owners of a local deli, Ray (Morris Chestnut) and Carmen (Mädchen Amick), who seem to be bristling with goodness and some latent sexual urgings (which for some reason is never explained - maybe it's just a cheap thrill).

    It is this latter point that gives away much of the problems with this film. It is fairly obvious from the outset that the finished film we see here is not what was originally envisaged. In the end, several characters are just completely forgotten about or ignored after many minutes of detailed exposition explaining who they are and what they do. The ending is a complete cop-out, since just as things get interesting and a whole lot of questions are just about to get answered, the credits roll. Even the inclusion of one screen of text, explaining what happened to the main characters, leaves a bad taste in the mouth and creates more questions than it answers. Scenes Of The Crime contains some nice ideas, some nice visuals, but on the whole is a completely unsatisfying event.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Despite the dodgy and incomplete nature of the finished film, it still gets one very nice transfer indeed.

    It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is extremely sharp and well defined, with heaps of minute detail being seen. There is not a single trace of edge enhancement anywhere. Shadow detail is perfect. There is no grain and no low level noise. This really is a clean, fresh image.

    The colours are well rendered and skin tones are perfect. While this is not the sort of film that relies too heavily on a vibrant and colourful palate, what we get here is still pretty decent looking.

    No compression artefacts were seen. There is no aliasing present and there are virtually no film artefacts of any note which is always pleasing.

    There are several subtitle streams available. Sampling the English variety found them more than adequate for the job, though not 100 per cent correct all the time.

    This is a single-sided, single-layered disc so there is no layer change.



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

Audio

    With the video receiving the full professional treatment, it nice to see the audio also being well looked after. I had visions of some poorly mixed two channel effort with the obvious limited post production budget, but what we actually get is a cracking full Dolby Digital 5.1 surround soundtrack. There are two audio soundtracks available on this disc. Both are full bitrate Dolby Digital 5.1 surround soundtracks with English and French being the available languages.

    There is a heap of audio separation and a solid dynamic range across all the front speakers. The dialogue levels are excellent, with no audio sync problems.

    The score was composed by Christopher Young and while it suits the on screen action for the most part, I couldn't help but shake that nagging feeling that I have heard it somewhere before. A recycled score maybe?

    There is only minimal surround channel use, mostly for the score and other streetscape style sounds. The subwoofer kicks in on occasion, again mostly for the score.



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

Extras

Theatrical Trailer

    The film's theatrical trailer runs for 1:45 and is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. It appears to be open-matte rather than a pan and scan version. A fair trailer that does show much of the climax, but not in a way to spoil the film (what there actually is to spoil that is).

Trailers

    Bonus trailer for some other Columbia Tristar titles - Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, Identity, Terminator 3

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 4 disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 disc misses out on;

    With only the minor soundtrack differences separating the different versions I suggest the local Region 4 disc as the version of choice since you should be able to pick it up quite cheaply.

Summary

    Scenes of the Crime starts out quite nicely. A decent idea, some great camera angles and artistic zooming shots, a few nice subplots thrown in to create ever more growing tension, and some reasonably credible performances from most of the cast. But this film suffers from one serious problem - and it's a rather large one. It really does feel like it hasn't been finished properly. The abruptness with which the end credits suddenly appear is really quite jarring and considering the film runs for just 87 minutes is really quite baffling.

    The video quality is excellent with no problems serious enough to warrant discussion.

    The audio is also excellent with solid surround channel use.

    The extras are limited to a trailer.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Monday, May 10, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5106DO, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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