Prime Suspect 6: The Last Witness (2003)
|Category||Drama||Featurette-Includes Interview With Helen Mirren|
|Year Of Production||2003|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Tom Hooper|
Universal Pictures Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
There's been quite a gap since the last outing of the unflappable DCI Jane Tennyson (Helen Mirren), making this new and apparently final addition to the Prime Suspect series all the more unmissable for the many devoted fans. It is without doubt one of the best British cop shows ever produced, with fantastic, well crafted and socially relevant stories, a gritty realistic approach to filming, including terrific location shooting and of course excellent acting, particularly from the inestimable Helen Mirren. In Tennyson this wonderful actress has crafted one of those rare characters - someone whom ordinarily we would dislike and find cold, intense, even downright b****y, but whom we manage to respect, even identify with by show's end. Additionally, unlike almost all other characters, we've had a chance to literally 'drop in' on the detective's life at various stages of her career, from the early days when she was battling for recognition for her obvious skill and dedication, to the current juncture, where bureaucrats have informed her, in no uncertain terms, that as she is now fifty four years old, her days heading the murder investigation unit are numbered.
Embittered by this revelation, Tennyson swoops in to take charge of the investigation into the murder of a 'ghost' - a young woman illegally arrived from Muslim Bosnia, fleeing the persecution she faced at the hands of the Serbian paramilitary and now trying to eke out a living. Desperate to prove to her superiors that she can still tackle the most daunting of cases, and also it seems out of a personal desperation to hold onto the only thing that provides her with a sense of purpose in life, the investigation ensues. What Tennyson and her team unearth is made all the more unsettling for the fact that the story is informed by events as horrific as they are, unfortunately, true. War crimes perpetrated against the Bosnians become relevant to their investigation and Tennyson seeks the advice of a war journalist and former lover, but clues are uncovered which suggest there is a far more intricate set of circumstances surrounding the death of this young woman. Investigations lead them into the lives of the dead woman's sister, whose life may be in danger, if only the police can determine the motive for the crime. One of the great strengths of the Prime Suspect miniseries is their ability to build a complex narrative without unduly confusing the viewer. Time is taken to explore the facts of the cases under investigation and investigate leads, come to dead-ends and start again. Compare this with the recently released piece of adventure schlock, National Treasure, in which inconsequential clues are pieced together with such rapidity and seeming irrationality that there is no sense of solving anything but a box-office intake equation. Also central to the quality of the series has been their commitment to exploring the personal side of their complicated central protagonist - her anguish over mistakes, her dogged determination, her battles within a male dominated profession, the absence of a private life.
I hope this is not the last we have seen of DCI Tennyson but if it is, one couldn't have hoped for a better or more characteristic finale.
The video quality is excellent - for a Prime Suspect series. In comparison to recent television releases, however, the quality leaves a little to be desired, but many of the 'flaws' do add a sense of grittiness and cinema verité to the production. It is correctly presented at its originally intended aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced.
Sharpness levels are commendable with equally good levels of detail. Shadow detail is a little poorer than I would have liked but it isn't a major detraction.
The colour palette is drab, grey, and sobering - absolutely perfect for the series.
There are occasional smatterings of fairly insignificant film artefacts and the print is not 100% clean but it is decent.
There is a fairly consistent level of grain throughout - which is probably a combination of artistic intent and a less than perfect quality transfer.
Film to video artefacts are not overly noticeable.
The solitary English 2.0 track is unremarkable, but serves the series well enough.
Dialogue is clear for the most part although some of the accents may give a few people a little grief early on.
There were no major distortions or blemishes to report.
Audio sync is excellent.
The surrounds and subwoofer get little to do.
|Surround Channel Use|
This feature is a welcome surprise considering the paucity of extras on previous releases, although much of the time is taken up with 'illustrative' segments from the series. There are, however, some interesting things to hear from the writer and director, and of course, Helen Mirren.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The releases are identical (except of course for the standard PAL vs. NTSC differences) so opt for the cheaper product.
Prime Suspect 6 is terrific television.
The video is pretty good.
The audio is serviceable.
The single extra is welcome, if a little padded.
|DVD||Yamaha DVR-S100, using Component output|
|Display||Sony 76cm Widescreen Trinitron TV. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD Player, Dolby Digital and DTS. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.|
|Amplification||Yamaha DVR-S100 (built in)|
|Speakers||Yamaha NX-S100S 5 speakers, Yamaha SW-S100 160W subwoofer|