Small Claims (2004)

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Released 5-Oct-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Mystery Menu Animation
Featurette-Making Of
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 294:09 (Case: 300)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Cherie Nowlan
Beyond Films
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Claudia Karvan
Rebecca Gibney
Robert Mammone
Freya Stafford
Paul Barry
Natasha Beaumont
Wayne Blair
Tamara Garforth
Jordan Brooking
Brandon Burke
Carol Burns
Tania Yuki
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Daniel Denholm

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (320Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    It is always good to see locally made television drama hitting our screens and being released on DVD. This two disc set contains a series of three telemovies made in the last two or so years for the Ten Network. Between them they were nominated for 3 Logies and 3 AFI awards, which is pretty good going. They are lighter style mystery thrillers with a good dose of humour included. The basic premise is that two mothers who are feeling like their lives are not going the way they would like find themselves embroiled in mysteries that they help to solve. They are Chrissy Hindmarsh (Rebecca Gibney), a mother of three who was previously a lawyer but is now running a catering business from her home while looking after the kids and Jo Collins (Claudia Karvan) a single mother who has effectively been demoted in the police service due to her motherhood duties. Chrissy sees the best in everyone and is passionate about helping people whereas Jo is quite tough and hard to get on with.

    The three movies are:

  1. Small Claims (99:30 ) - Chrissie and Melinda get involved in a mystery surrounding one of the members of their mothers group which seems to involve a murder in Western Australia 8 years before.
  2. White Wedding (94:40 ) - Jo's step sister, Kiara is getting married and they have never really gotten along. She is an insolvency agent and one of her subordinates gets stabbed to death. The body is found in Jo's brother's car, who has disappeared. It seems like coincidence initially, however details start to emerge.
  3. The Reunion (99:59 ) - Chrissy attends the 15 year reunion of the law faculty she attended. She takes Jo along because her husband won't go with her. A woman falls into the pool after being drugged and someone else related to the case drowns.

    All three of these are well made telemovies featuring interesting plots, quality acting, some funny one-liners and real believable characters. For those who find grittier television thrillers such as Prime Suspect or Silent Witness hard to take these are a good alternative, avoiding too much gore, swearing or sex whilst still having some thrills and a mystery to solve. It's also excellent to see two of our better local actresses getting the chance to anchor three mainstream television productions for a commercial network and doing such a great job of it.


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Transfer Quality


    The video quality is good.

    The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was reasonably sharp and clear although was affected by light grain throughout, which in some scenes became heavier and turned to mild macro-blocking in backgrounds. Shadow detail was very good.

    The colour was very good except for some light colour bleeding.

    I did not notice any glaring artefacts.

    There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired. The English subtitles were clear and easy to read.

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


    The audio quality is good.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 320 Kb/s.

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

    The score of this film by Daniel Denholm is moody and emotive, adding to the feel of the movies.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used noticeably.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The menu was still and silent.

Disc 2

Making Of

    Three separate making of featurettes are included, one for each movie. They follow a very similar pattern including interviews with cast and crew about the characters, story and shooting, behind the scenes footage and excerpts from the shows. They are all competent without providing any great insights. They are

R4 vs R1

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

     This set is not available in other regions.


    A set of three good quality telemovies featuring an unorthodox crime solving pairing of a desk bound cop and a caterer.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is good.

    Three making of featurettes are included.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Thursday, November 30, 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

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