Keeping Mum (2005)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 3-May-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Niall Johnson (Director)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Big Trouble In Little Wallop
Deleted Scenes-With Optional Director's Commentary
Outtakes-Funnies, Walter In Goal
Theatrical Trailer
TV Spots-3
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 98:54
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Niall Johnson

Warner Home Video
Starring Rowan Atkinson
Kristin Scott Thomas
Maggie Smith
Patrick Swayze
Emilia Fox
Liz Smith
Tamsin Egerton
James Booth
Toby Parkes
Jack Ryan
Case ?
RPI $34.95 Music Dickon Hinchliffe

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Auto Pan & Scan Encoded English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles 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

    English comedies nearly always grab my interest, especially when they include a cast that boasts Rowan Atkinson, Kristen Scott Thomas & Maggie Smith. Accordingly I was keen to give this recent film a look. This is a gentle black comedy if such a genre exists.

    The action is set in the small village of Little Wallop and focuses on the family of the local vicar, Walter Goodfellow (Rowan Atkinson). He is a pious, well-meaning and slightly boring man who has lost interest in his wife and sex over the years, focusing more on the needs of the community. His wife, Gloria (Kristen Scott Thomas), is bored and lonely and has been seriously contemplating having an affair with the local American golf pro, Lance (Patrick Swayze). He is a sleazy letch who she obviously has difficulty liking but her sense of boredom and frustration has encouraged her to respond to. Also in the mix are Walter & Gloria's two children, Holly (Tamsin Edgerton), their slutty 17 year old daughter and Peter, their timid 12 year old son.

    The movie opens with a seemingly unrelated scene of a young woman, Rosie Jones, some forty years earlier being caught by the police on a train with two dismembered bodies in her trunk. The bodies are her husband and his mistress who she has killed and dismembered. She is sent away for murder and spends the next forty years in jail. The action now moves forward to the present day in Little Wallop and the Goodfellows are awaiting the arrival of their new housekeeper, Grace Hawkins (Maggie Smith). From the moment of her arrival it is obvious that she is a very interesting and different elderly woman, very unlike the old ladies of the village. She sets about fixing the problems in the Goodfellow's relationships including the children's problems. Her methods of solving these problems are quite unconventional and not a little violent.

    I found this film very enjoyable and laughed regularly throughout. It is great to see both Rowan Atkinson and Maggie Smith playing very different characters to those which have made them famous. Rowan is a meek little man looking for encouragement and Maggie is a homicidal maniac, which she does very well and her comedic skills are excellent. However, the real heart of this film is Kristin Scott Thomas as Gloria because it is actually her character's journey around which the plot revolves. The film explores some tender emotions in addition to the comedic elements.

    Interestingly, this film was based on a script originally set in the US, but it was rewritten extensively for this production by the director Niall Johnson in what is his first major production. It was shot in Cornwall and the Isle of Man.

    A fun, entertaining and amusing English black comedy. Recommended for fans of gentle English humour.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    The video quality is very good.

    The feature is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was excellent. There was some very light grain, but only in some scenes.

    The colour was wonderful, rich and solid throughout, although it seemed slightly overbright on occasions. The director mentions in his commentary that digital colour grading was used in this production especially when inclement weather affected shooting and this effect may be related. I also noticed some light colour bleeding here and there.

    There were no noticeable artefacts.

    There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired. The English subtitles were clear and easy to read, although a little smaller than usual.

    The film itself is all on one layer.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio quality is very good.

    This DVD contains two audio options, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s and an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The score of this film by Dickon Hinchcliffe adds a real warmth to the production and features a very nice theme.

    The surround speakers added some mild directional effects and atmosphere. This is not an overly dynamic soundtrack but by the same token the surrounds add some subtle and worthwhile sounds such as train noises and rain.

    The subwoofer added small amounts of bass as required. One particular spot I noticed was during a thunderstorm.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    A good selection of quality extras is included.


    The cute menus included music, animation and the ability to select scenes, languages and subtitles.

Commentary - Writer/Director Niall Johnson

    One of the better commentaries I have listened to recently. He obviously prepared well for the commentary and includes many interesting details and anecdotes about things like the project's development, locations, casting, editing, changes to the script during shooting, technical issues, the production process, the characters, cinematography, aspect ratio, costumes and much more. Very good stuff.

Behind the Scenes - Big Trouble in Little Wallop (30:07)

    A better than average making of documentary featuring interviews with all the major cast plus significant crew. It covers the script, financing, casting, production design, locations, why the Isle of Man was chosen, shooting issues, music and cinematography. Good stuff but maybe a little too long.

Deleted Scenes (13:29) 

    11 deleted or extended scenes are included with an optional commentary by the director. Three of them show very different ideas which were considered for introducing and ending the Grace character and also a completely new introduction. The others are mostly just filler but all are worth a look and the commentary is very informative.

Funnies (6:17)

    This is a set of goofs and outtakes which are better than average.

Walter in Goal (2:24)

    More of Rowan Atkinson playing soccer. Nothing too special here.

International Trailer (2:13)

    Quality trailer.

TV Spots (0:30, 0:30, 0:15)

    A nice set of amusing TV spots.

R4 vs R1

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

    This movie has not been released in Region 1 and the Region 2 version is the same as ours. May as well buy the local product.


    An amusing and gentle black comedy from England featuring an excellent cast.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    A good selection of quality extras are included.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Monday, May 22, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE