Plots with a View (2002)

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Released 17-Nov-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Theatrical Trailer
Gallery-Photo
Filmographies-Cast
Trailer-Facing Windows, The Best Man's Wedding, I'm With Lucy
Trailer-Japanese Story
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 94:01
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Nick Hurran
Studio
Distributor
Vine Int Pictures
Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Brenda Blethyn
Alfred Molina
Christopher Walken
Robert Pugh
Naomi Watts
Lee Evans
Jerry Springer
Case ?
RPI ? Music Rupert Gregson-Williams


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

     Something is rotten in the state of Wrottin-Powys. The odious Councillor Hugh Rhys-Jones (Robert Pugh) is a philandering scoundrel, leaving his sweet and dutiful wife Betty (Brenda Blethyn) to care for his equally vile mother. As she thanklessly goes about the tasks of care with the constant carping of her mother-in-law in her ears, Betty dreams of what might have been, had the young boy at the dance plucked up the courage to ask her for a spin on the floor, all those years ago. The young boy has grown to be Boris Plots (Alfred Molina) - the ever-so-respectable heir to the town's funeral service. So when an unfortunate incident with some bran flakes becomes terminal, Betty and Boris are thrust together yet again. Even though Betty is pretty sure that Hugh's relationship with his secretary Meredith (Naomi Watts) works on more than one level, and despite the fact that it is her money which has provided Hugh with his status and comfortable lifestyle, our Betty is an old-fashioned girl, who takes duty and honour very seriously.

     And life has just become more complicated for Boris as well. His stature as the sole provider of interment service in the tiny town has been challenged with the advent of Frank Featherbed (Christopher Walken) - a flaky American entrepreneur who has decided to bestow his corporate dream of themed funerals on this hamlet as the first stop in his world domination of the farewell market.

     So the stage is set - we have our star-crossed lovers, our villain, and the threat to the status quo all in place. Boris realises that the only way he can have the love of his life is if he can assure her that Hugh's future is assured. His plan is to stage a death for Betty so that he can prepare the "body", leaving Hugh free to collect her inheritance, and Boris and Betty free to start a new life in warmer climes. But of course, nothing goes quite to plan. Meredith has her own plans for disposing with Betty, and Frank Featherbed has a more than vested interest in looking after Betty's body after her apparently terminal dancing accident.

     What ensues is a light and frothy little fluff of cinema. It rarely hits any particularly high comic notes, perhaps because most of its whimsy we've seen before. The cinematography is glorious and each performer is up to their task (it's interesting seeing Watts indulge in a fulsome Welsh lilt). The lovely and amazing Brenda Blethyn is as consistent as always, and Alfred Molina is just wonderful. But for me, it never really fully left the ground. It was pleasant and amusing and diverting, but it was not really memorable. There were really no twists to surprise, leaving a script that's predictability kept one somewhat outside the story. Not a bad film, particularly, just not a particularly engaging one either.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1 16x9 enhanced.

     The overall quality of this transfer is pleasing, although there were occasional compression problems which affected the depth. There was a little low level noise, though not at unacceptable levels, and it was reasonably crisp throughout.

     The colours were lovely, with a subtle palette that held well in both the shadows and the highlights. Skin tones were perfect.

     There is some very mild motion blur and there is aliasing present, but not in significant amounts. It is relatively free of any serious artefact problems.

     This is a single sided disc, with no layer change present.

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

Audio

     The soundtrack is delivered in English Dolby Digital 5.1. The dialogue is always clean, clear and fully audible. There are no subtitles available.

     There is surprisingly good surround presence, with lots of atmospheric notes in the background which creates a pleasing soundscape but there is no real subwoofer activity at all. Audio sync presents no problems at all.

     The music is a fairly pedestrian affair, with no real high notes. It plods along, effectively serving the action, but without really distinguishing itself in any major way.

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

Extras

Menu

     The menu is static with theme music from the film.

Trailer  (2:28)

Photo Gallery

     14 photographs from the film

Filmographies

     Basically just film lists for Brenda Blethyn, Alfred Molina, Christopher Walken, Robert Pugh, Naomi Watts and Lee Evans.

Palace Films Trailers

     Trailers for Facing Windows, The Best Man's Wedding, I'm With Lucy and Japanese Story.

R4 vs R1

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

      Apparently, the only other version of the disc is an R2 in either German or Italian. Given the language issue, I'd say we're on a winner with the R4.

Summary

     This film is not without its charm and the performers are without exception wonderful so it's definitely worth a look on a rainy afternoon. However, either the meandering storyline or some deficit in directing fails to make this a stand-out piece. It's pleasant and diverting, but not necessarily a comic classic.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Mirella Roche-Parker (read my bio)
Saturday, July 24, 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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