The Statement (2003)

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Released 19-Oct-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Main Menu Audio & Animation
Trailer-Shattered Glass
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 114:30 (Case: 119)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Seung-wan Ryoo
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Seung-beom Ryu
So-yi Yoon
Sung-kee Ahn
Doo-hong Jung
Ju-sang Yun
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Jae-kwon Han


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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

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Plot Synopsis

    Well, here is a top little film that snuck in under the radar. I cannot recall this film having a theatrical run in Australia and if it did it would have been at arthouse cinemas, rather than mainstream megaplexes. My first knowledge of this film came when it appeared in our database here at MichaelDVD as an upcoming release. On further investigation, I found it was a new film directed by multi-academy award nominated Norman Jewison (In the Heat of the Night, The Hurricane, ...And Justice for All etc) and starring a great cast including Michael Caine, Tilda Swinton, Jeremy Northam, Ciaran Hinds, Charlotte Rampling and many more well known European actors. On the basis of this alone, I decided to request it for review, and am very glad that I did.

    The film is set in France in the 1990s, however most of what occurs happens because of an incident which we see in flashback at the beginning of the film. As you may be aware, after the French were defeated by the Germans early in World War II, an armistice was signed in 1940 which effectively split France into a German occupied part in the North and a semi-independent part in the south which became known as Vichy France. In reality the Vichy government was a puppet regime controlled by the Germans. Part of the agreement was that the Vichy Government would assist with the 'cleansing' of Jews from France. The Vichy government formed a police force called the Milice, who worked with the Germans. The incident at the beginning of the film sees a young Milice officer ordering and carrying out the execution of 7 Jews under the direction of a German officer in a town called Dombey in 1944.

    The main plot of the film follows that same young policeman many years later as he is on the run from elements who either want to bring him to justice (as he has now been charged with crimes against humanity) or want to kill him. In the intervening years he has been protected by various members of the Catholic clergy, due to his membership of a secret society called the Chevalier de St Marie. He holds a devout belief in the Church and that his wartime actions were helping protect France from communism and therefore protecting the church. The officer's name is Pierre Brossard (Michael Caine) and he is now an old and sick man, cowed and nervous from a life on the run and desperate to die in a state of grace. The official investigation to bring him to justice is being led by Judge Annemarie Livi (Tilda Swinton). She has friends in high places and would seem to be related to one of the victims of the executions. She has requested the assistance of an Army officer, Colonel Roux (Jeremy Northam), who has been ordered to get involved in the investigation because the police were implicated in helping Brossard escape many years before. The people who want to kill him are much more shadowy, but seem to be well organised and directed by Pochon (Ciaran Hinds). They plan to leave a statement on his body saying that he has been executed for his part in killing the Jews at Dombey, hence the title of the film.

    The film is based on a novel by Brian Moore, however, it also seems to be inspired in part by the real life story of Paul Touvier who was tried for crimes against humanity for murdering seven Jews as a Milice officer during World War II. He had been protected by members of the Catholic clergy for many years.

    Michael Caine (despite not sounding like a Frenchman) is excellent in his portrayal of a very ambiguous character. Brossard is a very devout man who believes what he has done was necessary to defend his religion but also feels great guilt for the lives taken. On the other hand, he shows at times during the film that he is not necessarily the nicest man on the face of the planet. The rest of the cast also do fine work in support.

    I found this a fascinating film because it was a part of history of which I was vaguely aware but had no detailed knowledge of. It is great to see a film about a topic, particularly one related to World War II, which has not been done to death by other films. Definitely recommended for a rental, however, if you wish to purchase you might look to other regions.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is generally very good despite being compressed onto a single layered disc.

    The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is very close to what I would suspect to be the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1.

    The picture was generally clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise, although the sharpness was affected some minor softness and light grain, probably due to the MPEG compression. The shadow detail was very good.

    The colour was very good, featuring natural skin tones and well saturated colours, especially during landscape shots. Generally, the colour scheme of the film was not particularly vibrant.

    There were no noticeable artefacts.

    There are no subtitles.

    There is no layer change as this is a DVD5 - Single Layer formatted disc. The cover incorrectly indicates that this is a dual layered disc.
    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is reasonable but disappointingly only 2 channel, especially considering that other regions have 5.1 mixes.

    This DVD contains one audio option, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was generally clear and easy to understand, although subtitles would have been useful in some scenes where the dialogue was slightly muffled. There was no problem with audio sync.

    The score of this film by Normand Corbeil was very good and added drama and tension to the movie.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu includes music, motion and a scene selection function.

Trailer

    The only extra (if you can call it that) is a trailer for the film Shattered Glass.

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 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 & Region 2 versions of this disc misses out on;

   Based upon the above, it is a tie between Region1 & Region 2 except for PAL/NTSC differences. On that basis I would go for the Region 2 version.

Summary

    This disc contains a fascinating and well made film by Director Norman Jewison about a Vichy war criminal on the run in France starring Michael Caine.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is reasonable.

    The disc has no real extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Friday, October 15, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

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