Somers Town (2008)

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Released 3-Nov-2009

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Drama Theatrical Trailer-Somers Town
Teaser Trailer-Madman PropagandaTrailers
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2008
Running Time 68:01 (Case: 71)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Shane Meadows
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Thomas Turgoose
Piotr Jagiello
Ireneusz Czop
Perry Benson
Elisa Lasowski
Kate Dickie
Wojciech Olczak
Wojtek Macierznski
Ben Porter
Jamie Belman
Steve Hillman
Mark Monero
Ryan Ford
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music Gavin Clark


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/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 No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     After the international acclaim and success of his 2006 film, This Is England reviewed on this site here, you might expect British director Shane Meadows to be lured by a Hollywood studio with a big budget production. Thankfully though, Meadows next feature, Somers Town, was a small, low budget film set in the London district of the same name. The actual area of Somers Town is substantial and encompasses three railway stations in the London system, King's Cross, St Pancras and Euston Stations. St Pancras Station now plays a key role in the operation of the Eurostar Rail Network. In fact, the film Somers Town was funded largely by Eurostar Group Ltd. It is however important to note that while the refurbishment of St Pancras Station has some relevance in the narrative of the film, it is totally incidental to the overall story. Somers Town was originally envisaged as a short film project but was expanded into a feature film with a theatrical running time of just 71 minutes. The film also sees another fine performance from Thomas Turgoose in his second feature for Shane Meadows.

     Young teenager, Tomo (Thomas Turgoose) has left his depressed and lonely life in the Midlands for a new start in London. But what little money and possessions he has is soon gone when he is robbed and beaten by a group of three youths. Tomo meets another boy of similar age in a café. Marek (Piotr Jagiello) is a Polish immigrant who lives in a small flat with his father, Mariusz (Ireneusz Czop). Except for his father, Marek is also very lonely. While his father works, Marek spends most of his days in solitude, comforted by his interest in photography and his infatuation with an older French waitress, Maria (Elisa Lasowski).

     Marek provides Tomo with a home base, even though he hides him from his father. Marek and Tomo find some work with "wannabe" entrepreneur, Graham (Perry Benson), who also agrees to put Tomo up for a time. Tomo and Marek's awkward friendship is further complicated by the fact that they are now both in love with the same girl. But instead of fighting each other, they work together to win her affection. However, their worlds come crashing down when Maria leaves unannounced for Paris. Heartbroken, Tomo and Marek plan a train trip to Paris to find her.

     Somers Town is a beautifully funny, bitter-sweet tale of isolation, love and friendship from one of Britain's most talented filmmakers.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Somers Town is presented in the correct aspect ratio of 1.85:1, which is 16x9 enhanced.

     Even with the presence of inherent film grain, the transfer looks excellent. Natasha Braier's beautiful black and white cinematography sets the ambience. Sharpness levels were generally good throughout. Blacks and shadow detail was also very good.

     As mentioned, Somers Town is basically a film shot in black and white. In the last few minutes the film moves into colour. Deliberately soft and muted colours are used to good effect to convey the look of an old home movie. There were no MPEG artefacts noticed in the transfer. Film-to-video and film artefacts were negligible.

     Unfortunately, there are no subtitles available on this edition.

     This is a DVD 5 single layer disc, so there is no layer change.

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

Audio

     There are two audio tracks available on the disc - English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s) and English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s). Despite a few heavy accents, I didn't have much trouble hearing and comprehending the dialogue. There were no apparent problems with audio sync.

     The original music by Gavin Clark is a beautiful acoustic and vocal score which blends perfectly into the narrative of the film. The score is even worth a listen independently of the film.

     The surround channels were active mainly with music and occasional elements of ambient sound. Somers Town is a mostly a dramatic story with little requirement for directional sound. Likewise, the subwoofer enforced bass elements in the music and occasional street noise.

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

Extras

Menu

     The main menu is static, 16x9 enhanced and features a sample of Gavin Clark's score.

Theatrical Trailer - Somers Town (2:00)

Madman Propaganda - Trailers

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

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

     Somers Town is also available on DVD in Region1 and Region 2 editions - both containing a selection of extras.

     The Region 1 edition released by Film Movement in 2009 contains Interviews with cast members and Shane Meadows (26:44), Somers Town: A History - a text based page about the London suburb, Odd Shoe - a short film by Paul Cotter and the Theatrical Trailer.

     The Region 2 edition released by Optimum Releasing contains Shane Meadows' Master Class at the Tribeca Film Festival (68:46), Interview with Shane Meadows (14:41), Interview with Thomas Turgoose & Piotr Jagiello (6:20), Interview with Perry Benson (5:38), 2 x TV Spots (1:04) and Theatrical Trailer (1:59 ).

     There is also a UK, Region B, Blu-ray edition available from Optimum Releasing. This release features the same extras as their Region 2 DVD edition.

Summary

    Shane Meadows' Somers Town is a beautiful, bitter-sweet tale of isolation, love and friendship. While the film is often moving, it is also rich in humour and leaves the viewer with a glow of optimism.

    The transfers are equally very good.

    Unfortunately, this local release misses out on all the extras offered in overseas editions.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
Friday, January 14, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DMP-BD35 Blu Ray Player, using HDMI 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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