Keane (2004)

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

Released 14-Mar-2007

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Biographies-Cast & Crew-Cast and Crew
Trailer-Promotional Trailers
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 90:00
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Lodge Kerrigan

MRA Entertainment
Starring Damian Lewis
Abigail Breslin
Amy Ryan
Liza Colón-Zayas
John Tormey
Brenda Denmark
Ed Wheeler
Christopher Evan Welch
Yvette Mercedes
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music None Given

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

   William Keane (Damian Lewis) paces a crowded subway station. Three months ago, in this same spot, somebody abducted his daughter. He cannot find the abductor, nor any trace of her. He’s agitated and confused. It seems like he is having a mental breakdown. No one can help him.

   He catches sight of the man who took her. He follows him. He attacks him.

   Onlookers pull him off the man. No. He’s not the one.

   Keane leaves the station. He wanders aimlessly. Everyone is watching. He has outbursts. He is enraged. Then he is calm. He cannot find his daughter.

   Back at his hotel, he pays for his room for a few days more. A woman is there, Lynn (Amy Ryan), with young daughter, Kira (Abigail Breslin). She can’t pay for her room. She’ll be left stranded. Keane gives her money -- not because he wants anything in return, but because he wants to help. They bond. When Lynn has to leave town she leaves Kira in Keane's care. It’s clear there’s something wrong with William Keane. Is Kira in danger?

   Lodge Kerrigan is an underrated and, sadly, largely unknown film director. His Keane is a masterpiece. Obsessed with individuals on the fringe of society, he has crafted two brilliant films: Clean, Shaven, about a schizophrenic thought to be a serial killer; and Claire Dolan, the story of a prostitute who can talk to men with such power as to quickly find and satisfy their most intimate desires. These were festival hits but never found mainstream popularity. Working with Steven Soderbergh, he wrote and shot his breakout film In God's Hands, starring Peter Sarsgaard and Maggie Gyllenhaal, but the negatives were destroyed in a fire and the film was never completed. The insurance payout recouped costs, and Soderbergh promised to work with Kerrigan again, but the film was lost. Born from that loss was Keane, one of the best films of the past decade.

   Shot entirely in long takes, the film is set in the real world and never leaves its central character. We learn early that Keane is suffering from some mental illness, possibly schizophrenia, but it’s never openly discussed or classified. Instead, Kerrigan puts us in the same position as this man, which is both confusing and uncomfortable. We watch him struggle to find some trace of his missing daughter, and watch him go about his daily activities. We see him get violent, we see him take drugs, we see him harm others and himself; when the young Kira is placed in his care, we fear for her safety, but so does he; Keane is a danger to himself and a danger to others. We can see that, despite his outbursts, he might have been a good father. Like the rest of us, Keane struggles to hide his vulnerabilities and instead present a normal, acceptable face to the world.

   Keane is challenging, and it takes some time finding footing in the alien world of this person, someone we would normally not empathise with, and actively avoid. It doesn’t take long before our sympathies are with this character and the film becomes astonishingly powerful. Damian Lewis is convincing as William Keane, who will often appear charming and typical, then explode in uncontrollable rage. Lewis never slips out of character, and through Kerrigan's direction we fully empathise with him. Likewise, Abigail Breslin is superb, playing arguably the second most important character onscreen, and she shows a range far beyond her young age.

   Keane is beautiful, and it earns its hope through the maddening darkness. But Keane is seemingly unmarketable, which is why you've never heard of it, despite brief successful in the US and high praise from critics (including Two Thumbs Up from Ebert and Roeper). It received no theatrical release here and was ushered onto DVD without advertising or reviews. This is why I urge you to ignore the usual stigma that accompanies direct-to-DVD movies and arthouse films, and instead go out of your way to see this film. I cannot do it justice in this short review.

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

Transfer Quality


   The video is presented in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced.

   Keane looks great; the clean transfer is free of artefacts and errors, and is full of detail and sharpness. The film appears to have been shot on digital video, which here adds to the realism with a small level of grain across most scenes. There is little low level noise, with the blacks retaining strong detail throughout.

   The world is a dull place, rarely shining with bright colours, and it looks fantastic. There are no issues with interlacing or aliasing.

   There are no subtitles.

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


   The audio is presented in English Dolby Digital 2.0.

   Although limited to only two channels, the soundscape created by the audio is deeply immersive and adds to the experience. The dialogue and effects are perfect, with no issues with sync or dropouts.

   With the exception of diegetic music, there is no music in Keane; with no traditional score, the movement and changes in atmosphere score the sound, and change the way we experience what happens around the character.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Menus with Sound

   The nice still shot of the title character is offset by the awful music playing in the background of the menu. It's just representative of how the people making and marketing this DVD have no idea what the film is about.

Cast and Crew

   Stills of the major players in the cast and crew here are easy to navigate, but offer nothing special.

Trailers - Pusher (1:41), Dumplings (1:38), Invisible Waves (2:25), Funny Ha Ha (2:33), Flight from Death: Quest for Immortality (3:04)

   This series of promotional trailers for other Accent films are presented in their original 1.85:1 aspect ratio with no particular transfer issues. It's just a shame that there's no special features whatsoever for the film.

R4 vs R1

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

   R1 is the winner here, beyond the shadow of a doubt. Not only does that DVD include an English 5.1 soundtrack, but it also includes an alternate cut of the film by producer Steven Soderbergh. The alternative take on the film was made to show Lodge Kerrigan some of the changes that could be made to the film through editing, and it shows how very different the overall meaning can be using different editing and rearranging of events - though this might only be of real interest to film students, it's a major omission from our set. It's definitely not better than the actual film, but rather shows a different interpretation of what was being said by the film.


   Keane is beautiful - an unusual, challenging, life-affirming film that deserves its hope shining through the darkness. You will not see another film like this.

   The video is very good, featuring some seemingly-intentional issues with grain that add to the realistic approach.

   The audio is lacks a 5.1 track, but is very good for what it is.

   There are basically no extras, which is a crime.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ryan Aston (Bioshock)
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDLG LH-D6230, using Component output
DisplayBenq PE7700. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD Player, Dolby Digital and DTS. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
Speakers B&W LCR 600 S3 (Front & Centre); B&W DM 600 (Rears); B&W ASW500 (Sub)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE