Suspect Zero (2004)

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Released 23-Mar-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Dolby Digital Trailer
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Anacondas: The Hunt For The Blood Orchid, Closer
Trailer-Resident Evil: Apocalypse, The Forgotten
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 95:33
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (59:59) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By E. Elias Merhige
Studio
Distributor
Columbia Tristar F/D
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Aaron Eckhart
Ben Kingsley
Carrie-Anne Moss
Harry J. Lennix
Kevin Chamberlin
Julian Reyes
Keith Campbell
Chloe Russell
Ellen Blake
William B. Johnson
Jerry Gardner
Daniel Patrick Moriarty
Curtis Plagge
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $39.95 Music Clint Mansell
John McCarthy


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Czech Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Dutch
Arabic
Bulgarian
Croatian
Czech
Danish
Finnish
Greek
Hindi
Hungarian
Icelandic
Norwegian
Polish
Romanian
Serbian
Slovenian
Swedish
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    It would be difficult to provide a comprehensive synopsis of Suspect Zero without revealing key aspects of the plot, so I will intentionally keep this short. You also need to be aware that the DVD's back cover contains spoilers, as do many of the reviews for this movie. 

    Suspect Zero opens with a travelling salesman, Harold Speck (Kevin Chamberlin), sitting in a diner. He is quietly reading a fishing magazine when he is confronted by Benjamin O’Ryan (Ben Kingsley), who clearly knows one or two of Harold’s darker secrets. An agitated O’Ryan rattles Harold sufficiently to make him want to leave the diner in a hurry.

    FBI Agent Thomas Mackelway (Aaron Eckhart) has recently transferred to the Albuquerque office to investigate a string of missing person cases. We learn that Mackelway fled Dallas to escape a scandal and that the stress of this is possibly why he suffers from constant headaches. When Mackelway receives a stream of mysterious faxes, with “DO YOU KNOW WHY YOUR HEAD ACHES” written on them, you just know his pill popping isn't going to improve any time soon.

    Harold’s body is found on the front seat of his car with a note covering his face. The note depicts a circle with a slash through it and when Agent Mackelway removes the note, we see that Harold's eyelids have been cut away. The killer has left a string of clues, which poses the question - is he taunting the FBI or is he trying to get their attention?

    It doesn’t take long before Mackelway's former lover, Agent Fran Kulok (Carrie-Anne Moss), is brought in to assist with the case. The plot fails to exploit the relationship between the two of them so this development doesn’t really serve any great purpose.

    Suspect Zero is an entertaining psychological thriller, though it falls short of greatness. Its biggest downfall is the fact that many of the key plot points are revealed early on, leaving a predictable ending that lacks any real suspense.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer is good but not great.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced.

    The image is quite acceptable but, to be critical, it is a little grainy throughout and often lacks sharpness. The contrast levels are good and the blacks are black.

    The colour palette is generally subdued, though this is the intended style of the movie. Skin colours look natural.

    MPEG artefacts and film-to-video artefacts are non-existent. Apart from the already mentioned grain, the only problem with the video transfer is the occasional fleeting film artefact. Although they are noticeable they are not particularly annoying.

    Subtitles are available in English, Dutch, Arabic, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Serbian, Slovenian, Swedish and English for the Hearing Impaired. I sampled the English and English for the Hearing Impaired subtitle streams. They are well placed and easy to read.

    This is an RSDL disc with the layer change occurring at 59:59. The layer change was noticeable on my equipment.

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

Audio

    The audio transfer is excellent and is easily the stand-out feature of this disc.

    There are two audio tracks available, English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s) and Czech Dolby Digital 5.1(448Kb/s). I listened to the default English audio track. 

    The dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times. I did not notice any problems with audio sync on this disc.

    The musical score by Clint Mansell is quite powerful. He succeeds in creating suspense while providing ample ambience.

    The surround channels are used extensively throughout the movie, combining with the on-screen visuals to create a seamless environment. The surrounds fill the room with rain at 4:38 and manage to add an ethereal quality to the ghostly voices at 67:50. The prominence of the surround channels was such that my wife commented on their use and she rarely notices such detail. 

    The subwoofer actively supports the soundtrack without drawing attention to itself.

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

Extras

    Apart from a few Theatrical Trailers there are no extras to be had.

Menu

    The menu is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced. It is not animated and does not include an audio track. I was pleasantly surprised to see no anti-piracy ads before the menu appeared and only a copyright warning message after Play was selected. 

Theatrical Trailer

    This high quality trailer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced. Apart from some grain the quality of audio and video transfers is very good.

Additional Theatrical Trailers

    The disc also includes theatrical trailers for Anacondas: The Hunt For The Blood Orchid, Closer, Resident Evil: Apocalypse and The Forgotten.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on:

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on:

    The inclusion of a Commentary Track, an Alternate Ending, a Four-Part Featurette and a Remote Viewing Demonstration make the Region 1 version of this disc the clear winner.

Summary

    Director E. Elias Merhige has created an edgy psychological thriller with a style that is reminiscent of Seven. To get the most out of Suspect Zero you need to watch the movie without first reading any reviews (other than this one of course) or the DVD's back cover.

    The video transfer is good but not great.

    The audio transfer is excellent.

    Yet again it is disappointing to see the Region 4 version miss out on so many quality extras. If you want more than a few theatrical trailers I advise you to purchase the Region 1 version.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Aaron Devereaux (read my bio)
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-533K, using Component output
DisplayInFocus Screenplay 7200 with ScreenTechnics 100" (16x9) screen. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to Amplifier. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC -A11SR
SpeakersJamo D6PEX wall mounted Speakers and Powered Sub (7.1)

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