Affliction (1997)

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Released 6-Oct-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 110:00
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Paul Schrader
Studio
Distributor
Largo Entertainment
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Nick Nolte
Sissy Spacek
James Coburn
Willem Dafoe
Mary Beth Hurt
Jim True-Frost
Marian Seldes
Holmes Osborne
Brigid Tierney
Sean McCann
Wayne Robson
Eugene Lipinski
Tim Post
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $24.95 Music Michael Brook


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/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 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

    The collaboration between Paul Schrader and Martin Scorsese has yielded some of the best, most powerful and at times controversial films of all time - Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and The Last Temptation of Christ. It is perhaps not entirely surprising then that the films directed by one of the great screenwriters of our time himself have remained in relative obscurity. Most recently you may have heard that Schrader was dumped by studio executives after they felt his take on the Exorcist saga wasn't gory enough - too cerebral, sophisticated and introspective it seems. The subtle auteur Renny Harlin, responsible for the middle chapter of the to date Die Hard trilogy, had to be brought in to re-shoot up to 90% of the film. Such is the lot of this maverick moviemaker, whose films look deeply into the dark recesses of their (mostly male) protagonists' souls, when most films dare not scratch far below the surface. Affliction certainly delves deeply - into the destabilizing mind of a small town cop whose life and relationships continue to crumble around him as he searches desperately to solve a terrible crime.

    It stars Nick Nolte as Wade, in a powerful, unhinging performance for which the physically imposing thespian is well known - securing him an Oscar nomination. It is winter in New Hampshire - the frigid weather and the prevalence of hunters thanks to the deer hunting season creating a perfect atmosphere for a bleak murder mystery, which Nolte, in search of respect and love from those closest to him - a distant ex-wife and daughter, an increasingly evasive and worried partner in Sissy Spacek, an abusive alcoholic father (James Coburn in an Oscar winning performance that rivals Nolte's at times with its brutality and callousness) and the story's sometime narrator (Willem Defoe playing the brother of Nolte's character). Such is the desperation to prove his ability to solve the crime Wade blinds himself to the world's realities, and his behaviour becomes increasingly erratic and dangerous.

    Directed with a sure, steady hand and with such a profound understanding of the terrifying feeling of loneliness and isolation most of us have to endure only rarely (thank goodness), Schrader's Affliction is a spare and uncompromising work that is more likely to win respect than affection. Fans of any of the Schrader-Scorsese collaborations, however, need not hesitate. It is a starkly compelling film.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    We have been presented with an generally excellent 16x9 enhanced transfer at an approximately 1.85:1 aspect ratio.

    There are fantastic levels of sharpness throughout. Blacks were clean and clear and shadow detail was excellent.

    Bright colours are necessarily absent from this snow-encased film, and the bleak winter surrounds are realistic and life-like - brilliantly rendered.

    MPEG artefacts weren't a significant problem at all. There were a few incidents of aliasing, but these were minor.

    Film artefacts are minimal.

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

Audio

    We are presented with a solitary English Dolby Digital 5.1 track that is eminently suitable for this dialogue heavy film.

    Dialogue is well presented although some may struggle initially with the at times mumbling Nick Nolte. Audio sync is beyond reproach. There were no detectable dropouts or audio blemishes.

    The surrounds and subwoofer are, unsurprisingly, given little or nothing to do but do provide some atmosphere.

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

Extras

    A solitary trailer that maintains the sombre mood of the film.

R4 vs R1

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

    We miss out on nothing compared to the Region 1 release, so opt for the cheaper release.

Summary

    Not easy viewing, but Affliction is worth a look.

    The video transfer is consistently good.

    The audio is undemonstrative but well suited to the film.

    The lone extra is nothing worth writing home about.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Scott Murray (Dont read my bio - it's terrible.)
Saturday, February 19, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDYamaha DVR-S100, using Component output
DisplaySony 76cm Widescreen Trinitron TV. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD Player, Dolby Digital and DTS. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationYamaha DVR-S100 (built in)
SpeakersYamaha NX-S100S 5 speakers, Yamaha SW-S100 160W subwoofer

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