Hell Has Harbour Views (2004)

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Released 3-Mar-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 97:55
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Peter Duncan
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Richard Beasley
Peter Duncan
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Nigel Westlake


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    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.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    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.

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

Audio

    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.

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

Extras

    There are no extras.

Menu

    A static menu with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

R4 vs R1

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.

Summary

    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.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayGrundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
SpeakersSony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer

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