The Debt (2003)

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Sell-Through Release Status Unknown
Due Out for Rent 28-Apr-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Main Menu Audio & Animation
Trailer-American Crime, Interstate 60, The Hebrew Hammer, Fear X
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 110:18
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (82:06) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jon Jones

Imagine Entertainment
Starring Warren Clarke
Barbara Marten
Amanda Abbington
Martin Freeman
Hugo Speer
Nina Sosanya
Lee Williams
Orla Brady
Malcolm Storry
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI Rental Music Martin Phipps

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

    I often enjoy the English television shows that we get here on the ABC, series like Foyle's War, Spooks, Doc Martin and others. They can be enjoyable if somewhat low-key shows, with good humour, realistic characters and quality acting. This is what initially attracted me to this disc.

    This program, The Debt, although presented here as a 110 minute movie was in fact presented initially on the BBC over two Sunday nights in August/September 2003 as a mini-series. It features the acting talents of a number of well known English television faces including Warren Clarke, known to many as Detective Superintendent Andy Dalziel from Dalziel & Pascoe; Martin Freeman, famous as Tim from The Office; Hugo Speer from The Full Monty and a number of TV shows; and Lee Williams who appeared as Jon Forsyte in The Forsyte Saga.

   Stylistically, this show is fairly interesting with the use of voice-overs by the characters, freeze frame and jumps backward and forward in time. Despite this, this is still obviously a made-for-television production.

    The plot revolves around three main characters and the debts they owe, both monetary and emotional. The three characters are Geoff Dresner (Clarke), a recently released ex-con safe cracker who is trying to go straight as a baker; Detective Ed Forster (Speer) who has just been passed over for promotion and badly needs the extra salary; and young lawyer James Hilden (Williams) who is married but has told his new boss (also his ex-girlfriend) that he is not.

    Their lives intersect as Ed Forster and his partner are assigned to investigate a break-in that they believe might have been committed by Geoff Dresner. James Hilden's new boss assigns him the task of defending Geoff as a seemingly innocent piece of pro-bono work. Martin Freeman appears as Geoff's stupid and potentially dangerous son-in-law, Terry Walsh who has got himself into trouble.

    This set-up leads to a few mild twists and turns and results in a reasonably obvious conclusion. Despite this the show is well made, reasonably well written and features some reliable performers. Whilst this production does not stand out, it certainly helped pass an entertaining two hours.

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Transfer Quality


    The video quality is very good.

    The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, 16x9 enhanced which is seemingly the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was generally clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was quite good with night scenes showing satisfactory levels of detail. I noticed some very light grain but it was certainly not disruptive.

    The colour was very good throughout with all colours being well saturated and free from colour bleeding, despite not being a particularly colourful production. The skin colouring was very natural.

    No artefacts of any kind were noticeable.

    There are no subtitles.

    This is an RSDL dual-layered disc and the layer change can be found at 82:06. It is slightly disruptive. The case incorrectly lists this disc as being single layered.

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


    The audio quality is good.

    This DVD contains only one audio option, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was generally clear and easy to understand, however, the volume overall was quite low and seemed to get lower toward the end of the programme.    

    There were no problems with audio sync.    

    The score of this film by Martin Phipps was very good and definitely a highlight of the production for me. The score is jazzy and really adds to the film.    

    The surround speakers were occasionally used adding sound effects and music when played using ProLogic II.

    The subwoofer was also used occasionally.


Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The menus were presented in 1.78:1 16x9 enhanced, and included music and a scene selection function.

Trailers (2:10, 1:59, 1:59 & 1:44)

    The only extras here are trailers for four other Imagine Entertainment Productions, American Crime, Interstate 60, The Hebrew Hammer & Fear X. Of these I found The Hebrew Hammer trailer amusing and the Fear X trailer intriguing.

R4 vs R1

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

    This movie does not seem to be available outside Region 4.


    This disc contains a well-made BBC drama presented as a feature film.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is good.

    The disc only has trailers in addition to the main feature.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 1200, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD Player, Dolby Digital and DTS.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

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