Hell Has Harbour Views (2004)
|Category||Drama||Main Menu Audio|
|Year Of Production||2004|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Peter Duncan|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/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|
Hell Has Harbour Views is the entertaining, made-for-TV adaptation of the well-known novel by Richard Beasley. As a former corporate lawyer in Sydney, working for one of Australia's largest law firms, I found this very black comedy often a little uncomfortable to watch.
"A man re-discovers his conscience in the most unlikely of places - working for a prestigious law firm".
Hugh Walker (Matt Day) is a senior associate in the "most prestigious law firm" in Australia. As with any top-tier firm, their clients include Australia's most powerful corporations, banks, and insurance companies.
As with most other corporate lawyers, Hugh works absurdly long hours, six to seven days a week, to climb the greasy pole into an office with a harbour view (which of course also comes with a hefty pay packet).
This premise establishes the characters and locations for the three concurrent storylines that cleverly mingle:
Firstly, Hugh's climb to partnership is complicated when he finds himself in the centre of a vitriolic power struggle between two of the firm's senior partners, Frank 'The Croc' (Tony Barry), and Diplock 'His Lordship' (Tony Llewellyn). Hugh is placed floundering in a very difficult, no-win situation.
Secondly, there is also a love story. As Hugh is so busy working, he doesn't realise that he's not in love with his solicitor-girlfriend, Helen (Marta Dusseldorp), until a chance meeting with the lively and sassy journalist, Caroline (Lisa McCune). With Caroline, Hugh glimpses another world beyond time-sheets, suits, and the grey soulless towers of the City.
And finally, Hugh is given the seemingly impossible task of getting a signed affidavit from the colourful and disgraced businessman, Bruce Kent (Steve Bisley). If Hugh's successful, the Insurance Company can avoid paying out money to compensate the loss of vanished trust funds. But the plight of the trust fund's victims starts to concern Hugh.
Overall, the transfer is reasonable, and has the quality of recent, broadcast television.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced.
The image is often a little too soft for my liking. For example, consider the lack of definition in the image at 8:20. The transfer also struggles with shadow detail in the darker scenes, such as in the QC's office at 24:06.
There is intentionally a limited use of colour in the production's art direction, but what colour there is, is well presented, with accurate fleshtones.
MPEG artefacts were not a problem, but at times the image did appear a little pixelated, which I assume is caused by excess grain in the source material. Film-to-video artefacts do appear occasionally, such as the slight aliasing on the blinds at 21:58.
There are no problems with film artefacts, but some edge enhancement was noticeable, such as at 12:36.
There are no subtitles on this single-sided, single-layered disc.
As one might expect for an Australian made-for-TV production, there is one audio option: English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s).
The dialogue quality and audio sync are fine.
The musical score is credited to Nigle Westlake, who also scored the Babe movies.
As a stereo soundtrack, there is no surround presence and activity. However, as this is a heavily dialogue-based comedy, the surround effects and LFE are not missed.
|Surround Channel Use|
There are no extras.
A static menu with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Hell Has Harbour Views is zoned for all regions.
Hell Has Harbour Views is enjoyable, but probably more a rental than a purchase.
The video quality is reasonable.
The audio also gets the job done.
There are no extras.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-535, using S-Video output|
|Display||Grundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DE-545|
|Speakers||Sony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer|