The Tattooist (2007)

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Released 3-Jun-2008

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Deleted Scenes
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2007
Running Time 87:24
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (49:00) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Peter Burger
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Jason Behr
Mia Blake
David Fane
Robbie Magasiva
Caroline Cheong
Michael Hurst
Nathaniel Lees
Case ?
RPI ? Music Peter Scholes


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Linear PCM 44.1/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

Originality is something that every film buff craves but rarely finds nowadays, so the promise of a story that sounds different is a great selling point for a movie. Unfortunately many of these seemingly original premises are little more than just that; original premises that fall back on tired or muddled plots. The Tattooist is a perfect example of such a disappointment. The premise of the story is both original and a little intriguing; tattoos that awaken supernatural forces and a heavy dose of Pacific mysticism. The execution is both tired and haphazard; a cheesy plot that harks back to the horror movies of the 1980s, with narrative tone that varies wildly and inconsistently - even within individual scenes.

The plot is thus:

Successful tattoo artist Jake Sawyer (Jason Behr) specialises in creating tattoos based on traditional designs from all over the world that purport to have healing powers. At a showcase in Singapore he comes across a group of Samoans, though they reside in New Zealand, who are demonstrating traditional Samoan tattooing. Jake is bewitched by both the method of tattooing and one of the Samoan tattooists, an attractive young lass (Mia Blake). He steals one of their tattooing tools but feels guilty about it and heads to New Zealand to return it. Before doing so, however, he manages to cut himself on the tool and becomes haunted by an evil spirit that kills anyone that Jake tattoos. With the aid of Sina, the nice young lass he met in Singapore, Jake tries to rid himself of the spirit and unlocks a sinister secret in the process.

The plot is clumsily written to start with and becomes more of a muddle as the movie progresses. The characters are barely two dimensional and many are tenuously tied to the story, even when they seem to play a major part in it. Given to more talented screenwriters (even if they just trotted out the same well-worn plot) and a director with a consistent vision, The Tattooist could have been a winner. As it stands it's just another good idea gone bad.

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Transfer Quality

Video

The video presentation is surprisingly poor. Regardless of how bad a movie it is, it deserves a better presentation than this disc offers.

The film is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, which appears to be an open matte of the theatrical 2.35:1 aspect ratio, and is not 16x9 enhanced.

The image is a little soft, but reasonably clear. There is a reasonable amount of detail visible in shadows and dark areas, but this is mainly because the brightness of the whole film has been push up to a ridiculous level. Blacks are dark grey and every other colour is several shades lighter than they should be. Even the "black" bars at the top and bottom of the image look to be grey bars. The grain level in the image is very mild and quite consistent however.

A unusual level of macro blocking is noticeable in the image, which is even visible in the bars at the top and bottom of the image in the form of long vertical bars. Posterisation is occasionally noticeable, more so in dimly lit scenes (eg around the 68:00 mark). There isn't any sign of film artefacts in the transfer.

No subtitles are available for the feature.

This is a RSDL disc. The layer break occurs at 49:00 but was not noticeable on my equipment.

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

Audio

An English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 Kbps) and, unusually, an English LPCM 2.0 (1536 Kbps) audio track are present for the film. Both tracks sound reasonably good.

Dialogue is at a good level in the mix and is both clear and easy to understand. The dialogue appears to be well synchronised to the video.

The film features an incredibly over-the-top orchestral score from Peter Scholes. It doesn't seem out of place, but its complete lack of subtlety fails to build tension when it really should.

The surround channels are put to modest use for environmental effects. The subwoofer has nothing more than the odd bit of obnoxious use by the score during the "scary bits" (though I use the term lightly). All up it's a rather underwhelming affair.

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

Extras

Behind the Scenes Featurette (11:42)

A moderately interesting, press-kit style "Making Of" featurette. Interestingly, this featurette features the same video issues as the feature itself - no 16x9 formatting for the 1.85:1 image, washed-out colours and slightly unusual macro blocking. The featurette also features a rather annoying short loop of the film's score running through the background for most of its duration, which is worth grumbling about.

Deleted Scenes (4:22)

Three deleted scenes with no commentary or specific context information. The first changes the initial motives of the main character fairly significantly and it is fairly obvious why it was cut. The other two are quite inconsequential.

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 writing, The Tattooist is not available in Region 1.

Summary

An original premise turned into a rather generic and muddled horror movie.

The video presentation is a bit of a mess. The picture is not 16x9 enhanced and looks quite washed out. The audio is serviceable. A couple of token extras are provided.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Friday, June 13, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using HDMI output
Display Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

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