The Actors (2003)

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Released 10-Nov-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio
Theatrical Trailer
Featurette
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 87:56
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Conor McPherson
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Michael Caine
Dylan Moran
Michael Gambon
Lena Headey
Miranda Richardson
Michael McElhatton
Aisling O'Sullivan
Ben Miller
Abigail Iverson
Michael Colgan
Deirdre Walsh
Bill Hickey
Veronica O'Reilly
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music Michael Nyman


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 English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    In the featurette which accompanies this film, Michael Caine says something along the lines of it being impossible to make a mediocre comedy - they are either hilarious or completely unfunny. Well, I'm sorry Sir Michael, but this very film proves that it is possible to make a mediocre comedy, because this is one. I found myself laughing at some of the situations in this movie, however, I did not laugh enough to make this a great comedy. It should have been better considering the cast involved.

    The Actors is an Irish production written and directed by one of Ireland's young playwrights, Conor McPherson. The basic idea of the film is quite a good one - whether or not great actors could get away with confidence tricks if they tried. Tony O'Malley (Michael Caine) is a former big star who is now reduced to performing the lead in a poorly attended production of Richard III, done in the style of the recent film with Ian McKellen, i.e. with Nazi overtones. Also amongst the cast is his friend, Tommy Quirk (Dylan Moran from Black Books), a much lesser actor and much younger man. Both are struggling for money but O'Malley still has visions of grandeur, retaining his large house and dreams for productions he wants to do (such as Hamlet with only the vowel sounds used!). In order to research his role as Richard III he has been hanging around with criminals and has been told by one, Barreller (Michael Gambon), that Barreller owes money to someone from England called Magnagni whom he has never met. O'Malley convinces Tommy that he should act as the representative of Magnagni and get Barreller to give him the money. The plan is reasonably successful but is complicated by three factors; 1) Tommy falls for Barreller's daughter, Delores (Lena Headey), 2) the real Magnagni's representative arrives looking for the money, and 3) Tony & Tommy are idiots who need to have their plans determined by Tommy's young niece, Mary (Abigail Iversen).

    This movie is amiable, amusing in parts (especially when Tony or Tommy impersonate someone else) and keeps you mildly entertaining for its sub 90 minute running time. On the other hand, it really does not add up to very  much and despite being written and directed by a successful playwright, I think it is the script which really needed some work to tighten up the various plot threads and to make it funnier. Generally the cast do a  good job, although Michael Gambon is a bit over the top. The young Abigail Iversen is not vaguely annoying like any American child actor would be in the role. She actually does quite a good job.

    This might be worth a rental if you enjoy amiable comedies from Ireland but don't expect anything as good as The Commitments or Waking Ned Devine.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is good but suffers a little from being jammed on to one layer.

    The feature is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was reasonably clear and sharp throughout although you would not call it crisp. The sharpness was also affected by MPEG compression related artefacts such as grain and shimmering on camera pans. There was no evidence of low level noise. The shadow detail was very good.

    The colour was very good with no issues to report.

    There were a few artefacts, especially MPEG compression ones, although they were not too distracting. There was some mild aliasing here and there such as on the garage door at 49:20, some shimmering on camera pans and a few jagged edges. There were a few film artefacts in the form of white specks.

    There are subtitles in English which were clear, easy to read and virtually exact to the spoken word.

    There is no layer change as this is a DVD5 format disc.
    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is good but certainly nothing spectacular.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s but despite the encoding it is a front and centre focussed effort.

    Dialogue was generally clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync, although the subtitles occasionally came in handy, especially with some of the heavier accents.

    The score of this film by Michael Nyman keeps up the light and jaunty theme but the music which stands out is actually the songs used, which are quite good. Even the karaoke was quite reasonable. (Why do so many films have karaoke in them these days?)

    The surround speakers were mostly used for adding atmosphere to the music. The style of film does not really lend itself to large amounts of surround effects.

    The subwoofer was mostly used just to add bass to the music.

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu included stills, and the ability to select scenes and subtitles.

Trailer (2:08)

    A trailer which is just as good as the film - i.e. nothing special.

Featurette (5:11)

    This is a promotional puff piece but not like the ones for American films where everybody says how wonderful everybody else was. In this one the cast spend most of their interview time taking the p*** out of each other and the director. Funnier than the film!

R4 vs R1

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

    This has been released in Region 2 in exactly the same format and has not been released in Region 1. You may as well go for the local product.

Summary

    A mediocre comedy about struggling actors trying to pull off a confidence trick starring Michael Caine and Dylan Moran from Black Books.

    The video quality is good but slightly overcompressed.

    The audio quality is very good but quite front and centre focussed.

    The disc has two short extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Friday, January 07, 2005
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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