White Wall (2010)

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

Released 6-Jul-2010

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Sci-Fi Action Featurette-Making Of
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 95:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By James Boss
Studio
Distributor
Avantmark
Ovation
Starring James Boss
Gary Kohn
Michael Teh
Aurelie Kyinn
John Klemantaski
Hugh Mason
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI $29.95 Music Marc Collin


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 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

     In the mid 21st century, a man-made virus called VXII has almost destroyed life on earth. The survivors remain huddled in four run down cities surrounded by a 700 mile long white wall. Within the wall, conditions are harsh, especially for the orphans who live in brutal containment camps. Five orphans survive the camps, including brothers Shawn (James Boss) and Jude (Michael Teh). Grown up, they go their separate ways: Jude to lead a vicious gang called the Vespers, terrorising the remaining inhabitants; Shawn to seek anonymity as the janitor of a medical clinic run by Dr. Lei (John Klemantaski) where he eyes the doctor’s granddaughter Elsa (Aurelie Kyinn). But when people Shawn knew turn up dead, Shawn and the mysterious Dryden (Gary Kohn) set out across the desert in search of Jude. The militia and bounty hunters are also after Jude, although he strikes back and ransacks the medical clinic, abducting Dr. Lei. It seems that Jude may have discovered the secrets of the VXII virus and what lies beyond the white wall, secrets that may just kill them all.

     You must admire the audacity of the trio responsible for White Wall: James Boss (Director / Producer / Actor / Action Choreographer / Editor), Aurelie Kyinn (Producer / Actress / Costume Designer) and Vivian Kyinn (Writer / Producer / Second Unit Director). They imagine a post-apocalyptic world, sprinkle with martial arts, write, act, produce, edit and make the costumes, shoot in 15 days in three different countries, including Burma, under difficult weather conditions on a low budget. For a first feature, no point in starting with something simple!

     In truth White Wall is a bit of a mess, but it has some interesting ideas if you can work out what is going on. This is not helped by the plot, which veers about widely, nor the trite dialogue and stilted acting. Another hurdle is the way the film was finished in post production. In the featurette included in the extras on this DVD, James Boss reveals that the film was colour corrected, and this is certainly apparent as most scenes have had the colours leached out. This is very much in line with other recent post-apocalyptic films, such as The Book of Eli or The Road, which use a similar technique. However, in White Wall this is taken further and the light has also been taken out, leaving a very dark print especially in the interior sequences. The result is that on many occasions it is very difficult to see what is going on, a decided negative. The music by Marc Collin is a mixed bag; it often works very well however the extremely diverse mixture of styles employed, from electronic, to piano, to drumming, to orchestral to very Morricone sounding riffs, means that consistent themes, just like the plot itself, were a bit hard to come by. On the plus side, James Boss is an engaging lead, some of the martial arts sequences are acceptable, especially when you can see what is happening, and the film can look good, especially where made on location in Macau and Burma.

     While not an unqualified success, for a low budget independent film, White Wall is certainly not the total failure some have labelled it. It is an audacious effort trying to do something different and should be commended for the vision and effort, if not the execution. However, it is certainly interesting and generally quite entertaining.

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

Transfer Quality

Video

     White Wall is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. However, the IMdB gives the original shooting ratio as 2.35:1 and in a number of sequences the film does look cropped, with voices coming from beyond the sides of the screen and characters half in shot.

     As noted above, the colour palate is so dark that some sequences are almost impossible to see. It is just as well that shadow detail and sharpness is good, otherwise we might not have seen anything at all. Blacks are solid, the colours, skin tones and contrast, within the intended look of the film, are good. There is occasional grain but I did not notice any other artefacts.

     There are no subtitles.

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

Audio

     Audio is English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono at 192 Kbps. It is not surround encoded but does an effective job. Sound effects and music are clear although some of the dialogue was quite difficult to hear. However, I don’t feel this was the DVD but rather the way the dialogue was delivered by the actors. Subtitles would have helped in understanding some of the dialogue, and thus allow the audience to be in a better position to work out what was happening, but there were none. There was no surround or sub woofer use.

     Lip synchronisation is fine.

     As noted above, the music by Marc Collin was a mixed bag but was often quite effective.

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

Extras

Making of Whitewall (40:47)

     For an independent film, this is an extensive look at the development and production of the film from the three people who put the film together: James Boss, Aureline Kyinn and Vivian Kyinn. They cover the story, the characters, action and fighting styles, locations – including Burma and Macau – and do provide an interesting look at what can go wrong with the weather and authorities while making a low budget production shooting in only 15 days. Some of this is an outline of the story and while there is rather too much praise for everyone involved this is still a very interesting look at low budget, independent filmmaking. Addition comments are provided by John Klemantaski (Actor) and Jonathan Kuo (Concept Illustrator).

R4 vs R1

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

     The Region 1 US version of the film has the same “making of” but it also includes a trailer (2:01) and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. It is also reported to be in the correct ratio of 2.35:1. The Region A Blu-ray has the same audio and extras. Reviews of both DVD and Blu-ray report the same dark video and audio at a low level with indistinct dialogue. On the basis of the correct ratio and 5.1 audio, a win to Region 1.

Summary

     While not an unqualified success, White Wall is an audacious effort trying to do something different and should be commended for the vision and effort, if not the execution.

     The audio is in an incorrect ratio and is too dark (although this is the filmmaker, not the DVD), the audio is acceptable. There is one genuine, interesting extra.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42inch Hi-Def LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE