The Waiting Room (2007)

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Released 6-Jan-2009

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Theatrical Trailer-The Guitar (2:27) : 1.78:1, 4x3, Dolby Digital 2.0.
Theatrical Trailer-Love Comes Lately (2:29) : 1.85:1, 16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2007
Running Time 101:09 (Case: 110)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Roger Goldby
Studio
Distributor
Kojo Pictures
Beyond Home Entertainment
Starring Anne-Marie Duff
Ralf Little
Rupert Graves
Frank Finlay
Zoe Telford
Phyllida Law
Christine Bottomley
Adrian Bower
Daisy Donovan
Allan Corduner
Lizzy McInnerny
Lee Williams
Case Alpha-Transparent
RPI $24.95 Music Edmund Butt


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 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Train sequence - no dialogue.

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

Plot Synopsis

                      

    The Waiting Room is the first feature from young writer / director Roger Goldby, coming ten years after his Oscar nominated fourteen minute short film It's Good To Talk. Goldby has created a likeable, if not wholly successful, little film which says nothing new about yet another group of discontented thirty-somethings. The Beyond Home Entertainment slick reproduces a comment attributed to BBC Radio that The Waiting Room is "better than Sex and the City". This is a ridiculous comment as there are no grounds for comparison.

    Goldby has created a rather pathetic group of young adults. After a confusing few minutes, this viewer was much happier once it was sorted out exactly who was officially coupled to whom. Single parent Anna (Anne-Marie Duff) lives in a neat south-London terrace, with her daughter Charlie (Polly Rose McCarthy). Anna uses the girl as a weapon against her ex-husband, Toby (Adrian Bower), who is a clown on a children's TV programme. Anna's next-door neighbours are George (Rupert Graves) and Jem (Zoe Telford), who have a son, Joe (Finlay Kenny Tighe), but their marriage has hit a rough patch. George, an unemployed stay-at-home Dad, and Anna take their respective children for walks in the park, after which they return home, set the two kids to play - possibly watching Toby on TV - rip one another's clothes off and jump into the sack. For a reason I didn't catch, Anna also frequently catches trains and at the station one day she encounters an old man, Roger (Frank Finlay), who is a resident at an old person's home. It seems that Roger regularly goes to the station to await the arrival of his deceased wife. When care worker Stephen (Ralf Little) turns up to take Roger back to the home, some "deep and meaningful" instant connection is made between Anna and Stephen. Stephen, however, is in a relationship with Fiona (Christine Bottomley), a relationship that Fiona is anxious to cement with an exchange of  marriage vows. Stephen is not so ready to make this commitment, nevertheless Fiona goes ahead with dinner plans to introduce her parents (Allan Corduner and Lizzy McInnerny)  to her reluctant prospective spouse. Another dinner party is also being organised by George and Jem, at which they introduce Anna to Brian (Lee Williams) in an attempt to find their divorced neighbour "a man". Is Jem, well and truly under the weather, unaware that her next-door friend is in reality bonking her husband?

    There really is nothing new in Goldby's screenplay. There are far too many characters, and without exception they all become rather tiresome, mooning about the "grass being greener", which is about as profound as the dialogue and situations  get. There are also some, thankfully oblique, symbolic references to life being a "waiting room". The residents of the home are "waiting", with bed-ridden Helen (Phyllida Law) imparting words of wisdom to her favourite carer, Stephen. He, like the other discontented youngish adults, is also waiting, but for what? There is not enough involvement with any of these characters for us to really care. Nevertheless, the actors themselves are attractive enough, and while there is no real involvement with their dilemmas the time passes pleasantly enough. The principals, with two exceptions, have appeared almost exclusively in TV series. Anne-Marie Duff's career has taken off of late, and while she has a striking screen presence she at times is disturbingly unnatural. This is true of almost all the acting in the film, so may be attributed to the inexperienced director. There are a number of instances where an actor looks at some inanimate object, such as a photo, and semaphores his or her reaction. You can almost hear the director : "Now pick up the photo, look at it and smile wistfully." Duff is most guilty here, but she is not alone. Only Rupert Graves, possibly because he is by far the most experienced of the principals, delivers a natural, unforced performance. Back in the days of Maurice and Damage  Graves seemed to be emerging as a major star. While never reaching the heights, his career has endured, and he has done some stellar work for the BBC while occasionally popping up unexpectedly on the big screen, as in V for Vendetta. In the major male role Ralf Little is sincere and earnest, bares his physical all with admirable ease, but never really emotionally connects with his audience.

    Goldby's screenplay resolves the predicaments of his major characters far too neatly. Without exception, there is a neatly bow-tied resolution for every character. If only life was so neat. The camerawork by James Aspinall is controlled and uncluttered, with some very attractive scenic shots of trains, and the original music by Edmund Butt is pleasant enough, though a little syrupy at times. The opening credit sequence is probably the most memorable sequence of the film, with some lovely photography of, as well as from,  the speeding train, complemented by some most attractive music. This isn't a bad movie, but there is little here that stays in the mind. No doubt writer / director Roger Goldby will fare better with his next endeavour.
 

 

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Beyond have delivered an attractive transfer of this feature, albeit it on a single layered disc.
    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 - although the slick states 1.85:1 - and is 16x9 enhanced.
    The image is clean, clear and sharp, but not as brilliant as the best DVD transfers.
    Shadow detail is good, particularly in the darkened bedroom scenes, and there is no low level noise.
    The colours were generally bright and vivid, with the green parklands, the London suburban cityscape and picturesque shots of trains all very attractively rendered. Much is made of Anne-Marie Duff's red jacket starkly vibrant in her more subdued surroundings.
    There were no MPEG or film-to-video artefacts in evidence.
    There are no subtitles.

    This is a single layered disc.

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

Audio

        There in only one audio stream on this disc, in Dolby Digital 2.0 encoded at 224 Kbps.
        The slick claims "5.2 Dolby Digital".

        The audio is extremely centred, which is to be expected in a modest, dialogue driven film like this. Happily the dialogue was extremely clear and easy to understand. Sync was spot-on throughout.
        The musical score by Edmund Batt was attractive, beautifully played  and well recorded. There is an occasional tendency to be a little too lyrical and obvious - a bit like Roger Goldby's direction.
        There was little use of directionality apart from the occasional exiting car and in the train sequences.
        Only on a pro-logic setting was there any evidence of ambient sound, or music from the rear speakers.

        As with all technical aspects of this film, the audio is totally efficient, without being outstanding.

        There are no subtitles.

    

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

Extras

       .

There are no extras on this release apart from two trailers at start-up.


Main Menu :

       The main menu is presented very simply using two close-ups of Anne-Marie Duff and Ralf Little. There is no animation or audio.
       Options are : Play Film
                            Scene Selection : Twelve thumbnailed chapters on three screens, with no animation or audio.
                                                       


Trailers at Start-Up :

The Guitar (2:27) :
    Presented in a 4x3 transfer in the ratio of 1.78:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0  encoded at 224 Kbps. Quite good image.

Love Comes Lately (2:29) :
    Presented in a 16x9 transfer at the ratio of 1.85:1.Very good image with Dolby Digital 2.0 encoded at 224 Kbps.

R4 vs R1

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

    The only other release of The Waiting Room is in Region 2. According to information on Amazon.com the Region 2 release has :
                                                                                                        Dolby Digital 5.1 audio
                                                                                                        English Subtitles
                                                                                                        Audio Commentary
                                                                                                        Deleted Scenes
                                                                                                        Documentary
                                                                                                        Interactive Menu
                                                                                                        Music Video

Poor Region 4. We get not one thing, even downgraded audio - if Amazon are correct - a single layer transfer and a RRP of $24.95.

Summary

    While it is encouraging to see any new film coming out of Britain, it is a pity that this could not have been stronger. It seems such a throwback to the films of the seventies, and says nothing new. It is however good to see an emerging filmmaker so technically in charge of his art form, even if his script and direction are a bit old hat and predictable. This shows promise, but not much more.
    

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Monday, April 27, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BLU RAY BDP-S350, using Component output
DisplayPhilips Plasma 42FD9954/69c. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

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