The Sight (2000)

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Released 4-Oct-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Mystery None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 85:59
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Paul W.S. Anderson
Studio
Distributor
Sky
Warner Home Video
Starring Andrew McCarthy
Kevin Tighe
Amanda Redman
Jessica Oyelowo
Michaela Dicker
Honor Blackman
Alexander Armstrong
Eamon Geoghegan
Case ?
RPI $9.95 Music Jocelyn Pook


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Michael Lewis (Andrew McCarthy) is an American architect who has been commissioned to restore a derelict hotel in London, the one condition of his employment being that one room be left untouched and never opened... That is, until the owner of the building passes away and her ghost passes on her legacy to him.

    Michael has 'the sight', the ability to see and communicate with the dead who have not crossed over, as did his benefactor. The legacy passed on to Michael is not primarily one of financial gain, but the responsibility to help troubled souls - aided by 21 ghosts that help him in his task, and his trusted business partner Jake (Kevin Tighe). His first "case" is to help the souls of a group of children who have been slain by a depraved serial killer.

    To draw comparison, The Sight is largely a cross between The Ghost Whisperer and a grisly British detective series, the fundamental concept being more akin to the former, the story and tone being more the latter. It is a mash-up that works extremely well thanks largely to the atmospheric direction of the film and a story that stays well within the limitations of both its budget and the television format. It also has a sense of humour likely to appeal to fans of television shows like Buffy: The Vampire and its ilk.

    Paul W.S. Anderson has had a truly rollercoaster career as a director. After following the commercial success of Mortal Kombat with two major commercial flops, Event Horizon and Soldier, he retreated to writing and directing a low budget television movie - The Sight. In the process he proved two things; that he is far better at stretching a limited budget than spending a big budget and that his greatest success comes when he is directing material he has written himself (and assumingly has a better grasp of). Thankfully, the critical success of The Sight saw him move back into the world of modest budget features - as much as some may criticize the quality of his writing, it is hard to fault his striking visual style (which alone makes most of his movies worth a look).

    In terms of acting, we have pretty typical TV movie fare here - a great supporting cast playing around a mediocre recognised lead. Andrew McCarthy's talents appear to have peaked with Weekend at Bernie's. He is by no means bad in The Sight, but his performance is certainly not good. In contrast, the supporting cast are very good - not one has been miscast, although several are underused in the movie.

    The story plays out much more like a pilot episode for a television show or a series of telemovies. Sadly, nothing more has come of this excellent set-up.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in a 1.33:1 full frame format. This is likely to be the correct ratio given that it was made for television in around 2000, although I have been unable to confirm this.

    The DVD transfer is fair, but suffers from a limited colour depth and occasionally distracting level of grain.

    The colour depth and level of shadow detail in some scenes is quite poor (for example at 13:45), but still watchable. Scenes that have a deliberate washed out look tend to highlight the poor colour depth in the transfer as do shadowy scenes. Skin tones also vary noticeable from scene to scene, but never within a scene - this is likely to be an issue with the original film rather than one caused by the transfer.

    The level of grain varies considerably between scenes. Some are quite bad, particularly a few outdoor night shots (e.g. 14:25).

    The disc is single layered, but the average bit-rate is not bad (largely thanks to the lack of any extras) and there are no noticeable MPEG compression/blocking artefacts.

    Two subtitle sets are provided, English and English for the hearing impaired.

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

Audio

    There is one audio track, English Dolby Digital 2.0.

    The audio track is very basic, with not a lot of dynamic range, but pretty standard for a television presentation. The dialogue is perfectly clear. There are no noticeable audio faults.

    There is no surround usage or noticeable subwoofer use (this is pretty much the only Paul W.S. Anderson movie I've seen that doesn't push the bottom end!).

    Jocelyn Pook's (a modern composer notorious for Eyes Wide Shut) score deserves special mention. It is a very engaging and appropriately used mixture of piano and new age chant.

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

Extras

    Nothing at all.

R4 vs R1

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

    A similar bare-bones full frame release is available in Region 1, the only difference the two being PAL/NTSC formatting.

Summary

    The Sight is well ahead of the pack for a made-for-TV movie. It's a well paced, gripping thriller with excellent production values, a striking visual style and a good sense of humour. Whilst the feature is well worth a watch, the presentation is very basic and the disc bare bones - both factors worth weighing up before deciding to buy rather than rent.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDLG V8824W, using S-Video output
DisplayLG 80cm 4x3 CRT. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-D512
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

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