Three Dollars: Special 2 Disc Filmmaker's Edition (2004)

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Released 15-Feb-2006

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Robert Connolly (Director)
Audio Commentary-Elliot Perlman (Author)
Audio Commentary-Creative Team - Selected Scenes
Theatrical Trailer
Interviews-Crew-Robert Connolly (Director)
Interviews-Cast-David Wenham And Sarah Wynter (Actors)
Deleted Scenes
Music Highlights-Three Dollars Original Score
Storyboard Comparisons-With Optional Commentary
Gallery-Poster
Gallery-Photo
Short Film-Winged Plague, With Optional Robert Connolly Intro
DVD-ROM Extras-Human Cost Of Economic Rationalism (Essay)
Audio-Only Track-Elliot Perlman Interviews Tony Wilson
Easter Egg-Khoa Do's Director's Attachments Diary
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 114:43 (Case: 119)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Robert Connolly
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring David Wenham
Frances O'Connor
Sarah Wynter
Joanna Hunt-Prokhovnic
Robert Menzies
David Roberts
Nicole Nabout
Joanna Hunt-Prokhovnik
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Alan John


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/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

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Plot Synopsis

      "This is how healthy people feel in unhealthy times"...Eddie Harnovey   

    Three Dollars is Robert Connolly's second feature film as director, and again it follows moral themes of relevance in today's society. With The Bank, Connolly's first feature, he explored the topical subject of insatiable banks and a subsequent act of revenge against them. Before The Bank, Connolly produced one of my favourite Australian films of the last ten years, The Boys.

    Three Dollars is based on the Elliot Perlman novel of the same name, with the screenplay being a collaboration between Perlman and Connolly.

    The film examines current day social values and the financial angst experienced by much of low and middle class Australia. Although the story is set in Australia, the themes expressed in the film would almost certainly have relevance in nearly every country of the western world.

    The film opens with Eddie Harnovey (David Wenham) packing his personal belongings and being escorted from his place of employment. Eddie is a Chemical Engineer who refuses to sign off on soil samples in a shady land development, and as a consequence finds himself out of a job.

    Eddie has a young family, his wife Tanya (Francis O'Conner) and Abby (Joanna Hunt-Prokhovnik), their six year old daughter. With three dollars in his pocket, he has become another victim of a petulant system with an indifference to social responsibility.

    The plot is heavy with many moments of coincidence, the most bizarre of these being the meetings of Eddie and Amanda (Sarah Wynter). Eddie and Amanda were childhood sweethearts and accidentally bump into each other every nine-and-a-half years with amazing accuracy. There are other coincidences relating to Amanda that are revealed throughout the film.

    A chance meeting with a homeless man, Nick (Robert Menzies) and Alfred (Terry Norris), a disgruntled hospital patient, bring profound changes to Eddie's life. His social conscious is awakened and he becomes very aware of the growing social ignorance around him.

    The plot takes us back to Eddie and Tanya's university days, their love of music and the local record shop, run by old man Williamson (John Flaus). We see the significant moments in the lives of Eddie and Tanya that lead to the final, suitably ambiguous, but quietly hopeful conclusion.

    Three Dollars is a fascinating social fable, very relevant to the world we currently live in. Although some people may disagree with the portrayal of some of the ideas in the film, there is no denying the film's ability to create lively discussion. It will be interesting to view this film in thirty years or so to gauge just how far our society has progressed - hopefully for the better.

    Three Dollars is presented on DVD in a special two disc filmmaker's edition. The first disc contains the film, commentaries and trailer. The second contains the bulk of the quality extras.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer for Three Dollars is of high quality.

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

    The transfer exhibited good levels of sharpness and clarity throughout. Blacks were very deep and clear of any low level noise. Shadows were very impressive and displayed exceptional detail.

    Colours appeared very well balanced and perfectly natural.

    There were no MPEG artefacts in this transfer. Film-to-video artefacts were also kept well under control and presented no significant issues. Film artefacts were not at all evident.

    With the vast amount of extras on offer here, it is disappointing that no subtitles are available on the disc.

    Both discs are single sided, dual layer discs. The layer change on disc one is located at 75:49 and is very noticeable and quite disruptive. I could not locate the layer change on disc two, which indicates it is probably placed between extras.

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

Audio

    The audio transfer is also excellent.

    There are basically five separate audio tracks available on this DVD; English Dolby Digital 5.1 (224Kb/s), English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s), English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s), and English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s) - of which there are two.

    I found dialogue quality to be marginally inconsistent. I missed the occasional word here and there, but nothing of any major consequence. The difference in volume levels between menus and the contents were decisive and quite annoying when switching back and forwards.

     I found no problems with audio sync.

    The original music score by Alan John achieves what it sets out to do - to float above the film. The music offers genuine enhancement without overwhelming the action on screen. In his short commentary Alan describes his score for Three Dollars as calm and objective. Music from a variety of other artists such as Joy Division, Elvis Presley, Died Pretty and Chet Baker are also included in the soundtrack.

    The surrounds were effectively used to provide subtle and sensible enhancement to the action on screen. With minimal requirements for significant directional sound placement, the mix enhanced traffic sounds and ambient noise to great effect.

    Likewise, the subwoofer usage was minimal, but effective. The helicopter scene at 10:58 provided some excellent bass effect.

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

Extras

    The selection of extras presented on this edition of Three Dollars is exceptional. All of the extras on both discs feature Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s) audio.

Menu

    The main menu features animation from the film, 16x9 enhancement and a looped music sample from the film. While not as imaginative as it could have been, the menus still look good and offers easy navigation. Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s) surround encoded audio.

Extras Disc One:   

Audio Commentary - Robert Connolly  (Director )

    This commentary provides excellent insight into the making of the film. It is very adamant that Robert Connolly is proud of the film and is very happy to discuss it. He openly discusses all aspects of the film which I found to be interesting and relevant. There were also very few pauses in his commentary.

Audio Commentary - Elliot Perlman  (Co-Writer of the screenplay and author of the novel)

    Elliot informs us from the start not to expect too much from his commentary, but he turns out to be quite informative. He quickly becomes comfortable with the process and opens up with some very interesting information. Elliot gives tremendous insight into differences between the film and the novel, as well as relaying anecdotes and his thoughts on various aspects of the film.

Audio Commentary Selected Scenes - Creative Team  (46:27)

    This commentary offers a rare chance to hear from some of the creative team that wouldn't normally speak on an audio commentary. These people all offer unique comments on their particular field with selected scenes to highlight their comments. Each of the speakers and their corresponding scenes can be selected individually from the menu or you can select the Play All button for continuous commentary. The featured team include:

Original Theatrical Trailer (2:08)

    Three Dollars

Extras Disc Two:   

Interview - Robert Connolly  (10:04)

    Robert talks with Jaimie Leonarder from the SBS Movie Show about many aspects of Three Dollars. The interview has brief video grabs from the film incorporated, so I recommend seeing the film first. These clips do contain spoilers that may affect your enjoyment of the film.

Interview - David Wenham and Sarah Wynter  (11:56)

    This time Jaimie talks to David and Sarah about their roles in the film for the SBS Movie Show. As with the aforementioned extra, small video clips from the film are incorporated into the interview and some may spoil your enjoyment if you haven't already seen the film.

Deleted Scenes

    Three separate groups of deleted scenes, with an introduction from Robert Connolly. These scenes can be selected individually or you can use the Play All function to view them without pauses. The groups and scenes are listed below.

Robert Connolly Introduction (1:04)

Amanda and Gerard

Kate and Paul

Abby

Original Score by Alan John

     Presented here is Alan's score for the film which simply plays over the static menu. Individual pieces can be selected, or select Play All for continuous play.

Storyboard Comparisons

    As the title suggests, these are a couple of examples of storyboard comparisons against the finished scene. This extra is available with or without commentary from Robert Connolly.

Poster Gallery (1:41)

    Robert Connolly talks over a slide show presentation of many posters for the film, explaining how the final poster was decided on.

Photo Gallery

    A silent collection of forty-eight behind-the-scenes images from Three Dollars.

Short Film - Winged Plague (8:05)  with optional introduction by Robert Connolly (1:15)

    During Three Dollars, the character of Eddie watches an old documentary about the agricultural destruction caused by locusts on farming land. This is in fact a real documentary made by the Victorian Department of Agriculture in possibly the fifties. It sets out to show how modern chemicals are controlling these ravenous pest on farms. It is quite sad to see farmers handling these dangerous chemicals with no protection whatsoever. Planes fly over wheat crops spraying the poison and subsequently spray anyone standing nearby without concern. We now know these chemicals were highly carcinogenic and were more than likely responsible for many deaths years later.

    An option on this extra is a brief introduction from Robert Connolly before the documentary, explaining how they discovered the film and why it was used in Three Dollars.

DVD-ROM extra - Human Cost Of Economic Rationalism (essay)

    This nine page essay, written by Elliot Perlman, is presented in PDF format. The use of a computer with Adobe Acrobat Reader installed is necessary for reading the essay.

Elliot Perlman interviews Tony Wilson (26:09)

    This audio only interview was part of a special on the 25th anniversary of the suicide of Joy Division front man Ian Curtis. The relevance of Joy Division and Ian Curtis to Three Dollars will become obvious when you view the film. Elliot Perlman is a guest on the ABC radio program The Deep End which is hosted by Vicki Kerrigan. He talks with Vicki before playing an interview he did with British music producer and founder of Factory Records Tony Wilson. Tony also discovered Joy Division, whose music is also incorporated into this special.

Easter Egg - Khoa Do's Director's Attachments Diary (18:34)

    Khoa Do was the Director's Attachment on Three Dollars. He has filmed a humorous behind-the-scenes video diary on the set of the film. Cast and crew happily ham it up in front of the video camera, which makes for an entertaining, and at times very funny little featurette. This Easter Egg is really quite easy to locate. On the main menu of the extras disc, simply select the silhouette of the two men at the top of the menu.

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 was no R1 version of Three Dollars available.

Summary

    Three Dollars is a social fable that is very relevant to today's economic climate and our society in general. The film is as entertaining as it is thought-provoking. See it and make up your own mind.

    The video and audio transfers are both excellent.

    The selection of extras on offer is first rate.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDJVC XV-N412, using Component output
DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

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