The Odd Angry Shot (1979)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Audio Commentary-Sue Miliken, Tom Jeffrey & Graeme Blundell
Featurette-Script To Screen
Biographies-Cast & Crew
|Year Of Production||1979|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (50:58)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Tom Jeffrey|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (320Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (320Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||Yes|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Many films have tried to capture what it was like to be a soldier during the 1965-1975 war in Viet Nam. Amongst the most famous would have to be Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket and Oliver Stone’s Platoon. The most recent movie to take a look at the conflict was the intense adaptation of Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore’s recount of the battle of the Ia Drang Valley, We Were Soldiers. All of these movies have been milestones in their own right in looking at this highly misunderstood and complex conflict. However, few movies have successfully captured the unsung heroes of the Viet Nam conflict – the several thousand Australian troops sent to the war in the early days to counteract a possible ‘domino effect’ that would see a spread of Communism throughout Southeast Asia right to Australia’s front door. The Odd Angry Shot is one of those few exceptions.
Based on the novel by William L. Nagle, and adapted for the screen and directed by Tom Jeffrey, this movie follows the tour of duty of a group of Special Air Service soldiers sent to Viet Nam from Australia during the early years of the war. There is the older soldier Harry (Graham Kennedy), Bung (John Hargraves), Bill (John Jarratt), Rogers (Brian Brown) and Dawson (Graham Blundell). Together they try to make it through the war alive, while spending downtime at base camp drinking themselves into oblivion while Harry sermonises on the state of the war and what it all means in the grander scheme of things.
All in all, The Odd Angry Shot is a good portrayal of life at war for a small group of Australians. The performances are quite good, although Kennedy is given the most lines of the lot. Unfortunately, some poor writing results in a lot of soliloquies that tend to drone on a little like a sermon. While never quite atrocious, these scenes seem very staged, and all the other actors have to do is quip in with a “Really, Harry?” to keep it all moving along. This might work in a book, but it does not work well on the screen, and breaks up any realism the movie manages to achieve.
It quite often irritates me that wasted opportunity after wasted opportunity is made of a pool of amazing and distinctly Australian war stories that would also be exportable. Why there has never been a big budget, big screen adaptation of Christopher Koch’s Highways To a War or Peter Ryan’s Fear Drives My Feet seems to me indicative of Australia’s sad lacking in the arts all around – and a culture without artists is a hollow culture, no matter how much you hate your tax dollars going to Australian Arts Council grants. When we have shown that we can make amazing dramas like Lantana and Shine, it seems a waste not to put the same effort into movies with a grand scope that tell stories that are as much a part of our culture as Ned Kelly.
My criticism of the Australian Film Industry aside, The Odd Angry Shot is a fair attempt at capturing the war in Viet Nam from the Australian perspective. It is far from perfect, and viewed through the lens of 2004 leaves a lot to be desired. But it deserves its place in the canon of Australian cinema, and as such is worth a look on DVD.
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, this is very close to the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1.
The image is soft overall and a little grainy. This often results in a posterisation effect, which, while not garish, is nevertheless a little distracting at times.
Colours are reasonably well saturated, but not excellent, and at times could have done with a little more saturation. The balance was reasonably good, however.
Shadow detail leaves a little to be desired, and low-level shots also tended to be worse for graininess.
There are no glaring MPEG artefacts, but there is some noticeable posterisation from the graininess, and the odd bit of moire and aliasing, generally on metal edges.
There is a pink blotch in the middle of the screen at 2:20 and a blue blotch at 29:52 and a fair bit of dirt, which is no surprise given the age of this film.
Subtitles are available in English for the Hearing Impaired, and are pretty accurate.
The dual layer pause comes at 50:58. It occurs at the end of a scene, and while noticeable, is fairly smooth.
Audio is available in 2.0 Dolby Stereo in English only.
There were a few audio sync issues related to the source material and a drop out in the audio at 19:12.
There was not much in the way of left-right directional cueing, and this is fairly monoaural for a stereo track.
I was not at all a fan of the score for this movie and found it to be quite distracting at times. You may feel differently, however, and if you are a fan, at least it is faithfully reproduced.
There was no use of the rears and the subwoofer remained dormant, which is a bit of a shame.
|Surround Channel Use|
All menus are 16x9 enhanced. The main menu has the upbeat militaristic score playing in 2.0 Dolby Stereo. The other menus are silent.
Presented in 2.0 Dolby Stereo, this feature commentary is by producers Sue Millikin and Tom Jeffrey, and actor Graeme Blundell. These three are quite chatty, and this commentary is quite interesting, conveying mostly anecdotal behind-the-scenes stuff.
This is a series of stills covering six topics:
Unfortunately, this is fairly dry stuff.
There are two scenes with a script-to-screen comparison:
The scene plays in a small box while the script scrolls up beside it. One of the better set ups for a script-to-screen that I’ve seen.
The trailer is presented in 1.33:1, Pan and Scan, 2.0 Dolby Stereo. It is okay, but seriously dated and way too long.
These are a series of fairly detailed stills featuring information about the principal cast and crew.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
At the time of publishing this review, The Odd Angry Shot has not been released in R1.
The Odd Angry Shot is a good Australian film, that is a classic in Australia, but still leaves much to be desired.
Video is okay given the limitations of the source, but far from excellent.
The 2.0 Dolby Stereo track is acceptable, and also limited by the source.
The extras are good, although there is far too much use of stills.
|DVD||Panasonic DVD-RV31A-S, using S-Video output|
|Display||Beko 28" (16x9). This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver.|
|Speakers||Energy - Front, Rear, Centre & Subwoofer|