RAN: Remote Area Nurse (2005)

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Released 15-Feb-2006

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Trailer-Mullet, The Tracker
CD-Original Soundtrack
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 296:13 (Case: 300)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (3)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By David Caesar
Catriona McKenzie
Studio
Distributor
SBS Independent
Madman Entertainment
Starring Alice Addison
John Alsop
Sue Smith
John Brumpton
Luke Carroll
Deborah Kennedy
Charles Mann
Billy Mitchell
Charles Passi
Susie Porter
Santa Marina Rodgers
Bruce Spence
Felix Williamson
Case ?
RPI $34.95 Music David Bridie


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/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 None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    I wasn't sure what to think of R.A.N. - Remote Area Nurse when I first put my hand up to review it. I had heard a few things here and there, and I was hoping for good things. Although R.A.N. suffers from some of the usual Australian-TV clichés, I was on the whole pleasantly surprised.

    Set entirety on the Torres Strait Islands, R.A.N. is the story of Helen Tremain (Susie Porter), who returns from the mainland after her mother dies of cancer. Having been stationed on the islands as the only immediate source of medical help for many years now, she has a history with the people - both personal and professional. An attractive white woman in an almost completely black society makes for an interesting interaction of characters, and a very engaging show.

    I will not give a complete episode summary as this is not really an episodic show – it’s more like a 5 hour movie. If you want summaries, check out the homepage of this show on the SBS website. The following is a list of how the episodes are set out on these DVDs:

Disc 1

Disc 2

    The Machiavellian personal politicking of this show is really something to behold. Literally, I was surprised by the canny writing, the interesting characters, and the view of a society trying to hold onto its heritage while embracing the conveniences of Western culture in a highly isolated location. Although this lacks the violence of The Sopranos and Deadwood, there are definite similarities between Tony Soprano, Al Swearengen and the leader of the native community, Russ Gaibui (Charles Passi). Russ is the kind of conflicted personality that can lie, cheat and steal with a smile to get what he wants, but believes he is doing so out of the best interests of his charges.

    The other fascinating thing about this show was its depiction of life on the islands. While beautiful, the isolation can often be deadly, and health problems plaguing the community are truly horrendous – most notably, diabetes. It really is a location of contrasts, and for that reason all the more interesting to watch.

    Although certainly imperfect, this show is definitely worth a watch. Much better than other Australian shows that pander to the tourist market.

    This is no Phoenix or Wild Side, but it's a step in the right direction, and definitely worth your time.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    I watched the majority of this on my 42" Sony E-Series 3LCD Rearpro HDTV upscaled at 720p via HDMI. I watched the first and last episodes via 3LCD front projection on my 100" screen using my Sony VPL-HS60, upscaled at 1080i via HDMI.

    Filmed on High Definition Video, the image is a touch soft and has a tendency to smear a little during fast panning shots, particularly at night. Obviously, the producers were using an older High Definition video camera with a slower RMS.

    Otherwise, the image is glorious - amazing colour reproduction, excellent detail, no murky grain in darker scenes, no need for artificial lighting during shooting to change the 'natural' feel. Great stuff.

    There were no film to video artifacts (it was shot on video), and no dirt on the print.

    The lack of subtitles is a little bit of a shortcoming.

    I didn’t spot any dual layer pauses, so my guess is that they fall between the second and third episodes on each disc.

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

Audio

    Audio is available in the original English, mixed in 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo.

    Dialogue is clear and easy, and David Bridie’s immaculately rich score comes through loud and clear.

    There is some good left-right surround use, but nothing from the rears and no real LFE.

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

Extras

Menus

    All menus are presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. The main menu has a motion view of the island and the theme in 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo. Very picturesque and easy to use.

Featurette- Cast & Crew Interviews (14:52) (Disc 1)

    Presented in 1.78:1, there are interviews with the majority of the major cast and crew.

Trailers (Disc 2)

    This set contains the following trailers:

Audio CD- Original Soundtrack Recordings by David Bridie (60:00)

R4 vs R1

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

    There is no R1 release. As far as I can tell, this hasn’t been released anywhere else.

Summary

    R.A.N. - Remote Area Nurse is an excellent TV show, and a great example of what Australian writers, producers and actors are capable of when they actually try. Screw Australian Idol, give this a shot.

    Video and audio are quite good.

    Extras are good, particularly the CD.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Friday, February 02, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVPNS92, using HDMI output
DisplaySony VPL-HS60 WXGA 3LCD Cineza Projector (10,000:1 contrast ratio) with 100" Longhom Pro-Series Micro-Textured White Matte PVC 1.78:1 16:9 Fixed Mount Screen with Black Velour Trim. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES
SpeakersJensen QX70 Centre Front, Jensen QX45 Left Front & Right Front, Jensen QX20 Left Rear & Right Rear, Jensen QX-90 Dual 10" 250 Watt Subwoofer

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