Love's Brother (2004)

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Released 8-Dec-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Menu Audio
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Gallery-Photo
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-To Be And To Have
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 98:53
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jan Sardi
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Giovanni Ribisi
Adam Garcia
Amelia Warner
Silvia De Santis
Eleanor Bron
John Bluthal
Joe Petruzzi
Dina Panozzo
Barry Otto
Case ?
RPI ? Music Stephen Warbeck


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English 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 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

    Love's Brother is in essence a romantic and beautifully structured snapshot of a not-too-distant part of Australia's history. Set in Victoria in the 1950's, the film deals with a small community of humble Italian migrants and their turbulent efforts to settle in Australia. In this time arranged marriages were commonplace and often the easiest option when in the market for a partner. The procedure for finding an Italian wife in the 50s was very simple, and conducted by mail. A woman in Australia would be in charge of allocating or arranging contacts, and the appropriate male would first acquire a photo of the available lady and send her a letter, enclosing a picture of himself. If successful, the two would wed in separate ceremonies, oceans apart, and unite at another later date when the ship sailed for Australia.

    The tale begins as the Italian community welcomes the first espresso machine to Australia, a major event because the elder members of the Italian community have been without a decent cuppa for years. The beautiful chrome machine is blessed by the local priest and all rejoice, but not Angelo Domini (Giovanni Ribisi). After four years in Australia and countless letters and photos, he is losing all hope of ever finding a bride. His brother Gino (Adam Garcia) on the other hand is involved with a local girl, Concetta and is delaying his desire to wed for fear of disrespecting his elder brother. Concetta (Silvia De Santis) is generally indecisive and prefers to go by the Aussie name Connie, trying to fit in by bleaching her hair. In a last ditch effort to find a wife, Angelo is given the photo of Rosetta (Amelia Warner), a stunningly beautiful girl born of a poor Italian family. He reluctantly sends off a letter - only this time he deliberately encloses the photo of his brother Gino in the hope of gaining a positive response. Rosetta instantly falls in love with the photo and responds with a wholehearted yes, much to Angelo's bewilderment. Vows are exchanged in a whirlwind and arrangements are made for the transition, as Rosetta jumps on the next ship to Australia. Rosetta is a firm believer in the romantic ideal of destiny and she married Angelo by name, but has an image of Gino in her head. Who will meet her at the wharf? Somebody has a lot of explaining to do!

    I had the opportunity to experience this film a few months ago at a local film festival. Director Jan Sardi was in attendance to field questions from the audience, along with Producer Jane Scott. Most questions I recall revolved around their previous work on Shine and his decision to have the cast speak English, rather than Italian. Jan explained that while he was aiming at a certain degree of authenticity, he wasn't trying to make a film with extreme detail like Passion of the Christ. In this case he made a conscious decision to use English dialogue in order to make the film more accessible, and I believe he made a good decision. Had it been filmed with Italian dialogue, it would have drawn attention away from some of the dramatic aspects and it may even have been easy to forget the Australian setting.

    Giovanni Ribisi provides the superb cornerstone performance here as the fidgeting and nervous Angelo, and Amelia Warner is simply gorgeous as the perpetually stunned Rosetta. Australian musician and artist Reg Mombassa appears intermittently as a quiet gypsy painter, and gains the final say in the film.

    I find this film to be a fine piece of escapism. It's simple, well made and heart warming - and there's nothing wrong with that. So, grab your favourite Italian beverage, be it coffee or a glass of wine, sit back and enjoy this little gem.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This video transfer is presented in the film's original theatrical aspect of 1.85:1, complete with 16x9 enhancement.

    The level of sharpness is acceptable in this transfer, although it does appear a little soft in places I cannot be certain if this effect is intentional. There is a slight amount of film grain present now and then, but this is consistent with the print I viewed theatrically a few months ago. Shadow detail and black levels are relatively true and consistent. There was no low level noise evident in the transfer.

    Most colours are pale and pastel-like, with little vibrancy. I would guess that this was intentional, to give the film a slightly dated appearance. Skin tones came across a little orangish a times, but this wasn't a major problem.

    I noted a couple of very minor specks of dust, originating from the source print. As a whole, this transfer is very clean and almost artefact free. There were no MPEG compression issues to speak of.

    This disc doesn't contain any subtitle streams.

    The disc is comprised of only one layer (DVD5 format).

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

Audio

    There is only one soundtrack accompanying the feature, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 stream encoded at 448Kb/s. Being a dialogue driven film, there are no surprises here. The same effect could easily have been achieved with a Dolby Digital 4.0 mix.

    The English dialogue is heavily accented in places, but always comes across clearly and succinctly. The ADR is seamless and unrecognisable. Audio sync is perfect.

    This is a relatively frontal soundtrack, with minimal surround activity to be heard. To be honest, the film hardly calls for a full surround workout, so the lack of activity isn't missed that much. The film's score spills to the rear channels on a number of occasions and creates a subtly enveloping feel. There's a great example of frontal panning at 27:02 as a loud jet of steam passes from left to right.

    The film's music can only be described as orchestral and romantic, with many recognisable European touches. The score was composed by Steven Warbeck and serves the film immeasurably, guiding the viewer through the many emotional highs and lows very effectively.

    The subwoofer wasn't called upon to any noticeable degree, which is hardly surprising.

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

Extras

Menu

    The main menu page is animated with images from the film and backed by a piece of the film's score. All the menu pages are 16x9 enhanced.

Biographies (9)

    There are a couple of brief pages of text for six of the cast members and three of the filmmakers. Some interesting info, but nothing too in-depth.

Photo Gallery

    Fourteen full screen stills, most are from the film itself while a couple of others were taken during production.

Theatrical Trailer (2:46)

    This is a fairly standard trailer, outlining the plot of the film. There's some irritating telecine wobble present here, and the 1.85:1 video transfer isn't 16x9 enhanced.

Trailer

    A bonus trailer is included for Nicolas Philibert's To Be and to Have (Etre et avoir).

R4 vs R1

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

    This disc is only available in Region 4 at the moment.

Summary

    Love's Brother is a romantic and endearing tale from a not too distant period in Australia's history. All of the performances are excellent, particularly Giovanni Ribisi, and the direction by Jan Sardi is smooth.

    The video transfer is quite good.

    The audio transfer is lightly enveloping at times and provides a good frontal presence.

    The extras add little value to this rental release.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Rob Giles (readen de bio, bork, bork, bork.)
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-525, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX76PW10A 76cm Widescreen 100Hz. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.

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