The Red Siren (La sirène rouge) (2002)

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Sell-Through Release Status Unknown
Available for Rent

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Deleted Scenes
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Ashes And Sand, Cock And Bull Story, American Crime
Trailer-Interstate 60
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 113:46
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (80:04) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Olivier Megaton
Studio
Distributor
Haut Et Court
Imagine Entertainment
Starring Jean-Marc Barr
Asia Argento
Frances Barber
Andrew Tiernan
Alexandra Negrao
Edouard Montoute
Vernon Dobtcheff
Johan Leysen
Jean-Christophe Bouvet
Carlo Brandt
François Levantal
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI Rental Music Nicolas Bikialo


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    The Red Siren is a strange production; most of the technical staff and a significant proportion of the actors are French and it seems to have been filmed in France, yet it has been made in English. Moreover, it is quite an ugly little film in that the plot revolves around brutal murders (some of which don't seem to advance the plot at all), fetishistic behaviours related to murder and suffering and, despite this subject matter, one of the two main characters is a 12 year old girl.

    Anyway, the plot is that Alice, the 12 year old girl (Alexandra Negrao), turns up early one morning at a police station and asks to see Det. Anita Staro (Asia Argento). She proceeds to tell the detective that her mother, Eva Christensen (Frances Barber) has been murdering people, including her nanny, Sofia. As evidence she presents a DVD showing a film of the actual murder but not, unfortunately, the face of the murderer. Due to Eva being a rich and powerful business woman and the fact that they lack enough evidence, the police decide not to believe Alice and arrange to return her to her mother. Instead of accepting her fate, Alice decides to run and ends up hiding in the back seat of an unlocked car. It transpires that the car belongs to Hugo, an assassin (Jean-Marc Barr), who decides to protect and help her. The mother employs many of her seedy and violent friends to try and get her daughter back.

    I did not really enjoy this film and could not recommend it to people as a film worth watching. It has elements which are similar to films like Se7en & 8mm in that it looks into an underworld that we may not have known existed. The acting here is generally quite stilted, perhaps due to many of the actors not working in their native language. Frances Barber does a reasonable job with a character who has few redeeming features.

    The production attempts to be quite stylish with the use of nearly entirely natural lighting, blue filters in some scenes, hand held cameras for some scenes and some intended picture distortion and use of different camera angles. The natural lighting gives this film a dark and grimy look which I would assume is purposeful.

    I think the main problem here is the screenplay which is full of clichés and quite poor dialogue.

    Overall, I cannot recommend this film and was quite disappointed considering that I am a fan of French cinema in general.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is good but not great.

    The feature is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio non 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio. The lack of 16x9 enhancement reduces the sharpness of this transfer significantly in my opinion.

    The picture was reasonably clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise, however there was light grain and some scenes lacked sharpness. Shadow detail was reasonable at best with night scenes only showing some details. The lack of sharpness combined with the size of the lettering meant that the end credits were unreadable even when zoomed.

    The colour scheme of this film was quite dark with very little vibrant colour. This seemed to be a stylistic choice as much natural lighting was used.

    There were no noticeable artefacts.

    There are no subtitles.

    This is a dual layered disc and the layer change is well placed and not terribly distracting at 80:04.
    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is reasonable but not what you would expect for such a recent film.

    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, once or twice I would have liked to have been able to refer to subtitles to understand what was being said. This of course was impossible and on at least one occasion, despite repeated plays I had to just accept that I would not understand a particular line of dialogue.    

    There were no problems with audio sync.    

    The score of this film by Nicolas Bikialo did not really stand out. The only musical memory which I have of the film is the industrial metal track which plays over the menu and opening credits. I wish I could not remember it.

    The surround speakers were virtually not used at all although on one occasion I noticed a bullet sound effect when played using Pro Logic II.

    The subwoofer was used occasionally to add to sound effects when played using Pro Logic II.

    

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu included a scene selection function.

Deleted Scenes (13:28)

    This one menu item includes a number of deleted or extended scenes from the film. I do not think the film would have been any better with any of them included.

Theatrical Trailer (1:33)

    This is a fairly standard theatrical trailer for the film.

Other Trailers

    The disc also includes trailers for Ashes & Sand, Cock & Bull Story, American Crime & Interstate 60. Despite watching these trailers, I still have no desire to see these films.

R4 vs R1

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

    This movie is yet to be released  in Region 1, however it is available in Holland and France (Region 2) with Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS soundtracks (in English and other languages) and more extras such as commentaries, storyboards, and so forth. Should you wish to seek them out, the Region 2 releases seem to be the pick.

Summary

    This disc contains an ugly thriller made in France.

    The video quality is good but lacks 16x9 enhancement.

    The audio quality is reasonable but only 2 channel.

    The disc has a small amount of uninteresting extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Thursday, June 10, 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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