Tom White: Special Edition (2004)

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Released 19-Apr-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Making Of-Making Of Tom White
Interviews-Cast-Colin Friels, Rachael Blake
Featurette-Cast And Crew Q & A Session
Music Video-'My Friends Call Me Roxy' & 'The Things That Matter'
Gallery-Poster-Since Otah Left
Theatrical Trailer
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Gallery-Photo
Trailer-The Return, My Life Without Me, Japanese Story
Trailer-Since Otah Left
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 102:26
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Alkinos Tsilimidos
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Colin Friels
Rachael Blake
Case ?
RPI $36.95 Music None Given


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 None 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 next time you see someone who is homeless, you must understand, there is a story to that person".  Alkinos Tsilimidos  (Director - Tom White)

   In 1994, Alkinos Tsilimidos made his debut in feature film direction with a gutsy film entitled Every Night, Every Night. This film also started collaborations between Alkinos and other talented people that extended to his second feature, Silent Partner (2001), and strengthened in this film, Tom White. Many of the credits in Silent Partner are mirrored in Tom White - this obviously created a very stable and creative working environment, which is certainly evident in the quality of the production.

   Tom White (Colin Friels) would be the envy of many. He lives a typical middle class life, with a wife, two children, a good job and a nice house in the suburbs.

   It's a typical morning in the household. Tom's wife, Helen (Rachel Blake), gets the children ready for school and Tom gets ready for another normal day at work. Tom is a draftsman, working in an architect's office. He never quite made his dream of becoming an architect and this is certainly one of many underlaying issues in Tom's life, as we will later discover.

   The familiar goodbyes he gives to his family that morning give them no warning that they will not see him again for many years. An incident at work provides the spark that totally unbalances Tom's already fragile world and sends him into self-imposed exile from mainstream society. He simply can't take the pressures of his existence any longer, and abandons himself to a life on the fringe of society. He gives family and friends no indication of his actions and simply vanishes from their lives.

   Tom meets and forms relationships with a myriad of people on the streets. The stories of these relationships are told in episodic format and are linked together.

   Tom's first experience of street life is to help a bashed male prostitute, Matt (Dan Spielman). Tom develops a caring, platonic relationship with Matt, which also provides the film with some nice elements of humour. He then meets Christine (Loene Carmen), who is trying to stay off heroin and away from her former boyfriend, Phil (David Field). It is during an incident involving Phil that Tom meets an older, wiser man, Malcolm (Bill Hunter). Tom quickly gains Malcolm's trust and is taken to his secret room in an old railway yard, a place that is fiercely guarded by the old man. Tom's fatherly instincts are stirred when he meets a young graffiti artist, Jet (Jarryd Jinks). Jet lives with his petty criminal father, and spends most nights on the streets with his friends. He is befriended by Tom, who takes Jet under his wing in an ironic twist.

   Years of homeless life have hardened and weathered Tom. When a series of events leads him to the opportunity of emerging from his exile and facing his wife, Tom makes this decision surprisingly easily.

   Tom White is not comfortable or light-hearted viewing, but it will certainly reward the viewer with a film that stays in your thoughts long after the credits have rolled. The film's final scene is perfectly staged and provides the precise amount of ambiguity.

   Central to the success of the film is Colin Friels as Tom. Clearly, Friels delivers one of his best ever performances. The film is blessed with wonderful performances from the entire cast of new and seasoned Australian actors.

   Tom White is a wonderfully original film, that most will find a deeply moving and thought-provoking experience.

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Transfer Quality

Video

   The video transfer is quite superb.

   The film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

   The transfer is remarkably clear and sharp throughout. A couple of darker scenes had some very minor grain, but this wasn't a significant issue. Blacks were very clean, showing no signs of low level noise. Shadows were also quite superb. Considering much of the film takes place at night, this was a very important element to the transfer.

   Colours were beautifully rendered and appeared totally natural. The production design used a perfect mix of drab colour for certain street life scenes, and then throws in bold strong colours for an excellent contrast. I found no evidence of any oversaturation in the transfer.

   There were no MPEG artefacts. Considering the film's sharpness, there were no problems with aliasing. In fact, film-to-video artefacts were very hard to spot. I really struggled to find any obvious edge enhancement and film artefacts weren't an issue at all.

   Unfortunately, there are no subtitles available on this disc.

   This is a single sided, dual layered disc. I could not locate the layer change during the film on this disc. I believe the layer change does not actually occur during the film - the use of software to find the layer change indeed confirmed this.

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

Audio

   The audio transfer is also very impressive, albeit on a more subtle scale.

   There is one audio track available on the DVD, that being English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s).

   Dialogue quality was outstanding throughout and presented no problems with comprehension at any time. Audio sync also presented no problems and appeared to be spot on.

   The musical score by Paul Kelly brings some wonderful atmosphere to the film. His song, Meet Me In The Middle of The Air, features heavily in the score. It is used to brilliant haunting effect over the final credits, when the song is sung A Capella beautifully by Linda Bull.

   The surrounds were used in a suitably subtle manner for ambient street sounds as well as the occasional direct effect, such as a dog barking at 38:21 and thunder at 62:28. Music was also well highlighted through the surround channels.

   The subwoofer was highly active, but also quite subtle. It was used well with bass highlights in the score and some direct effects, such as thunder rumbles and a train at 33:09.

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

Extras

   Tom White is presented with a good selection of extras, befitting its special edition status.

Menu

   The main menu is very well designed and themed around the film. It is animated and features looped music and ambient street sounds. It is 16x9 enhanced and features Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s) audio, which is quite rare for a menu.

Featurette: The Making of Tom White (17:55)

    A short but comprehensive look at the making of Tom White. It features interviews with Alkinos Tsilimidos (Director), Daniel Keene (Writer), Daniel Scharf (Producer), Toby Oliver (Cinematographer) and Dan Potra (Production Designer). Most aspects of the film are discussed and some good insight is given into the creative process. The interviews are intermixed with behind-the-scenes and final film footage. Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s).

An Interview With Colin Friels (16:31)

   An excellent companion to the above featurette, this time focusing on Colin Friels. He discusses the role of Tom and his preparation for the role. It also features behind-the-scenes and final film footage. Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s).

An Interview With Rachel Blake (12:37)

   Exactly the same concept and format as the interview with Colin Friels. Of particular interest with this interview is hearing of the lack of preparation and knowledge director Alkinos Tsilimidos wanted from Rachel in playing the role of Helen. Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s).

Featurette:  Cast and Crew Q & A Session (20:56)

  This question and answer session was filmed at The George Cinemas in St Kilda on August 19th 2004. It seems to have taken place after a screening of the film and features Alkinos Tsilimidos, Dan Spielman and Daniel Keene all discussing various aspects of the film. Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s).

Music Videos:

  Leone Carmen / My Friends Call Me Foxy (4:31); The Things That Matter (5:29)

  Both of these songs and the accompanying clips are rather plain in my opinion. While they won't appeal to everyone, I'm sure they will find some fans. I don't really know what the connection with the film is though, if any, as these songs are not credited. Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s).

Poster Design Gallery

  A slide show of eight advertising posters of the film, presented with no audio.

Theatrical Trailer  Tom White (2:11)

Cast and Crew Biographies

  Brief text-based biographies of various cast and crew members of Tom White, presented with no audio.

More from Palace Films:  

   Trailers for other Palace titles.

R4 vs R1

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

    At the time of this review, there is no R1 version available of Tom White.

Summary

   Tom White is a powerful and original film that draws its audience into an almost surreal homeless existence, originating from one of comfortable middle class. The film's strange beauty and stellar performances make this one of the superior offerings from the Australian film industry in recent times.

   The video and audio transfers are outstanding.

   The selection of extras is quite interesting, although the lack of any subtitles is a disappointment.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
Sunday, April 24, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDJVC XV-N412, using Component output
DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Great menu i aggree - Jamaka Radebe REPLY POSTED