Romulus, My Father (2007)

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Released 8-Nov-2007

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary-Richard Roxburgh (Director)
Featurette-Directors Diary
Interviews-Crew-Popcorn Taxi Q & A Session
Interviews-Cast & Crew-Sydney Writer's Festival Panel Session
Interviews-Crew-Raimond Gaita (Author - Romulus, My Father)
Interviews-Crew-At The Movies interview with Richard Roxburgh
DVD-ROM Extras-19 Page Study Guide
Theatrical Trailer-Romulus, My Father
Teaser Trailer-Madman Propaganda
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2007
Running Time 99:44
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Richard Roxburgh
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Eric Bana
Franka Potente
Marton Csokas
Kodi Smit-McPhee
Russell Dykstra
Jacek Koman
Terry Norris
Esme Melville
Alethea McGrath
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI $29.95 Music Basil Hogios


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Richard Roxburgh is a well-known and highly respected Australian actor of stage and screen. In Romulus, My Father however, he takes a place on the other side of the camera - in the directors chair. While Richard has previously directed for the stage, this film marks his directorial debut for a feature film.

    Since first reading Raimond Gaita's 1998, biographical novel, Richard Roxburgh had visions of bringing the literary work to the screen. Steadfast in his quest to obtain the rights for the film, Richard eventually met with the author in London. Over a couple of bottles of fine red wine, Richard began the process of convincing Raimond that he could faithfully bring his story to the screen.

     Romulus, My Father tells the story of a fractured migrant family, living in the small Victorian country town of Baringhup in the early nineteen-sixties. The narrative unfolds through the eyes of nine year old, Raimond (Kodi Smit-McPhee). Rai lives with his Romanian born father, Romulus (Eric Bana), who works hard as a blacksmith and farmer, trying to establish a decent life for his family. Raimond's mother, Christina (Franka Potente) lives away from the family home, but visits quite often. She struggles with many psychological issues, one of which is living in the quite isolation of this small country town. After many affairs, Christina is now in a relationship with Mitru (Russell Dykstra), a friend of Romulus.

    Romulus endures Christina's failings, refusing a divorce and he even retains a somewhat awkward friendship with Mitru. Hora (Marton Csokas) is Mitru's brother and is also Romulus' closet friend and confidant. Hora has a strong, guiding relationship with Raimond and is the unfailing support needed by Romulus in his life.

    Christina falls pregnant to Mitru and they move into a dingy boarding house in Maryborough to start a new life. However, their new arrival fails to bring the expected happiness, with poverty and violence beginning to erode their already fragile relationship. As their cycle of depression continues, Christina and Mitru's lives take a tragic turn. The emotional impact of these events and his enduring loneliness brings Romulus to make an unfortunate decision, one that ultimately leads to his descent into madness.

     The underlying theme through the narrative of Romulus, My Father is the love between father and son. Romulus dedicates his life to ensuring Raimond learns strong moral values and receives the solid foundation of a quality education.

    Although much of the film deals with tragedy, there are genuine moments of humour and above all, an uplifting spirit that shines through.

    While the film is not perfect, it is easy to see its appeal to a general audience. Performances from the entire cast are solid and Roxburgh's careful direction stops the film from becoming melodramatic.

    Romulus, My Father won four AFI awards in 2007, including Best Film and marks an impressive feature film direction debut for Richard Roxburgh.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer for Romulus, My Father is hard to fault.

    The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, which is 16x9 enhanced. Exact screen measurements indicate the ratio to be closer to 1.80:1. The correct aspect ratio for Romulus, My Father is 1.85:1.

    Madman have delivered a striking transfer that exhibits excellent sharpness and clarity. Blacks were bold and clean. Shadows generally held an outstanding degree of detail.

    The colour palette accurately reflects the seasons, locations and mood of the film. I don't recall the use of any stark and vibrant colours in the film at all. The beautiful, rich earth tones in Geoffrey Simpson's cinematography are displayed perfectly balanced on screen.

    There were no MPEG artefacts in the transfer. Film-to-video artefacts were well controlled and film artefacts were non-existent.

    English subtitles are available on the DVD. They are easily legible in bold yellow and appeared to be very accurate.

    Both DVD's in this presentation are single sided, dual layer discs. The layer change on disc one (film disc) occurs at 49:48 and was easily noticed.

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

Audio

    In terms of dialogue-based dramas, this is one of best Dolby 5.1 mixes I've heard in a long while.

    There are three audio tracks available on the DVD, English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s) and English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s).

    The dialogue quality was exceptional throughout and audio sync appeared to be very accurate.

    The original music score is credited to Basil Hogios. It's a very subtle and beautiful score that adds considerably to the ambience of the film.

    The problem with many 5.1 sound mixes for dialogue-based films is they are so obscure they tend to be insignificant. The mix for Romulus, My Father however, is one of the most intelligent I've heard in a drama for sometime. The surround channels carry an incredible amount of subtle detail, which totally immerses the viewer in the scene. The sounds of the Australian countryside fill your living room, with chirping crickets at night and singing magpies during the day. There is delicate ambient sound surrounding the viewer constantly throughout the film. I turned my head on many occasions, only to realise the sound was coming from rear speakers. In a couple of scenes the sound separation was more obvious, such as passing cars and motorbikes, but for me, it was the ambient sound that won the day.

    The subwoofer is used where necessary to enhance bass elements. A more obvious example would be the motorcycle scene at 24:12.

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

Extras

    Although most of these extras are very discussion-based, they still provide very good insight into the making of the film.

Menu

    The main menu features subtle animation, is 16x9 enhanced and also features a sample of music from the film.

Disc One:

Audio Commentary - Richard Roxburgh (Director

    A quietly spoken Richard Roxburgh provides an informative commentary with very few pauses. He candidly discusses most aspects of the production, which includes plenty of behind-the-scenes information. Of particular interest are the sixty scenes that had to be cut from the original screenplay during pre-production.

Disc Two:

Director's Diary

    These very short video diary entries seem to have been made for the Internet. Richard Roxburgh speaks to camera after the days filming and gives his feelings on how that particular day went. Some behind-the-scenes footage has been incorporated into the diary, but unfortunately, it's all very short and as such, not really comprehensive. Each piece can be selected and played individually or select the "play all" feature.

  • Day 1  (1:22)
  • Day 2  (1:19)
  • Day 3  (1:35)
  • Day 4  (1:18)
  • Day 9  (1:24)
  • Day 12 (2:04)
  • Day 15 (2:39)
  • Day 16 (1:54)
  • Day 17 (2:53)
  • Day 23 (1:40)
  • Day 31 (3:13)
  • Day 35 (1:07)

    Popcorn Taxi - Q & A Session (31:34)

        Another interesting Popcorn Taxi forum. Hosted by Oscar Hillerstrom, this question and answer session features contributions from Richard Roxburgh, Robert Connolly and Geoffrey Simpson.

    Panel Session At The Sydney Writer's Festival (21:14)

        This Q & A forum was filmed at the Sydney Writer's Festival on 29th May 2007. The session is hosted by Annette Shun Wah and includes guests, Nick Drake, Raimond Gaita, Richard Roxburgh, Eric Bana, Marton Csokas and Robert Connolly. Co-producer, John Maynard joins the forum later, but his contribution has obviously been edited from this piece.

    Interview With Author, Raimond Gaita (29:21)

        A fascinating interview with author, Raimond Gaita. He openly discusses the novel, the people in it and their portrayal in the film. Scenes from the film have also been integrated with Raimond's dialogue.

    At The Movies Interview With Richard Roxburgh (26:45)

        At The Movies co-host, Margaret Pomeranz, interviews Richard Roxburgh about the film. Much of the same information is revealed from Richard's previous discussions.

    Original Theatrical Trailer 

        Romulus, My Father (1:56)

    Australian Teachers Of Media Study Guide - DVD-ROM

        This comprehensive 19 page study guide is accessible via the DVD-ROM drive on your computer and is in PDF format.

    Madman Propaganda - Trailers

  • Look Both Ways (0:38)
  • Ten Canoes  (2:05)
  • Three Dollars (2:25)
  • Kenny (1:50)

    R4 vs R1

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

        At the time of this review there is no R1 edition of Romulus, My Father available.

    Summary

        Madman have presented Romulus, My Father exceptionally well in this two-DVD edition. Admirers of the film will definitely want to add this to their collection.

        The video and audio transfers are outstanding.

        The selection of extras is relevant and gives great insight into all aspects of the film. Just a little more behind-the-scenes material would have been icing on the cake.

     

         
     

  • Ratings (out of 5)

    Video
    Audio
    Extras
    Plot
    Overall

    © Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
    Wednesday, January 16, 2008
    Review Equipment
    DVDJVC XV-N412, using Component output
    DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
    Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
    AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
    SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

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