Road, Movie (2009)

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Released 6-Apr-2011

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Adventure Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Madman Propaganda x 4
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2009
Running Time 92:56 (Case: 97)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Dev Benegal
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Abhay Deol
Mohammed Faisal
Satish Kaushik
Tannishtha Chatterjee
Veerendra Saxena
Amitabh Srivastava
Suhita Thatte
Hardik Mehta
Shradha Shrivastav
Roshan Taneja
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music Michael Brook


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Hindi Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Hindi Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

“Traditions are important”

     Vishnu (Abhay Deol) is a modern young city man, destined to follow his father into the hair oil business. In an attempt to escape, he volunteers to drive a 1942 Chevy truck across the desert to the museum that has purchased it. The truck, which had previously been used as a travelling cinema, still carries projectors and rolls of old films. On his journey across the barren and waterless desert, Vishnu picks up a boy (Mohammed Faisal), an old handyman looking for a fair in the desert (Satish Kaushik) and a gipsy woman (Tannishtha Chatterjee) and faces breakdowns, thirst, a venal, corrupt policeman (Veerendra Saxena) and a bandit leader (Yashpal Sharma) who controls all the wells and is not above murder to enforce his monopoly. Before the journey is through, Vishnu will make some life-changing choices and discover the power of tradition, the magic of cinema, and love.

     Road, Movie is director Dev Benegal’s third film. His debut, English, August (1994) was well received in India but his follow up Split Wide Open (1999), mixing themes of poverty and paedophilia, proved too strong for Indian audiences. Possibly as a result it has taken him 10 years to bring us Road, Movie. It was worth the wait.

     The title of the film, Road, Movie, succinctly explains it’s plot, and it’s themes, for this is a road trip amalgamated with an examination of magic of cinema. The film places the modern, self centred Vishnu on a journey amid the traditional, rural people of the Rajasthan desert, where life is a struggle for survival, and water is life. Yet, this is not a depressing film by any means, but a beautiful film told with humour, compassion and a little sadness. It features outstanding, natural performances by the four leads and stunning widescreen images of the desert landscape, courtesy of cinematographer Michel Amathieu. From a line of water seekers on the horizon, to the flat white salt lake, to the truck travelling along empty, guttered tracks, this is a film to savour, just like the desert dwellers who materialise out of the wastes to experience the marvel of cinema, even when projected onto a wall.

     Road, Movie may be slow in parts, but it is a beautiful, life affirming film from writer / director Dev Benegal, told with humour, compassion and a little sadness. It features outstanding, natural performances by the four leads as well as stunning widescreen images of the desert landscapes. Quality independent India cinema; highly recommended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Road, Movie is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the original theatrical ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced. This is a great print that does justice to the stunning cinematography. Sharpness is very good, blacks rock solid and shadow detail excellent. Colours are bright but not garish with yellows and browns dominating, contrasted with the colourful red and green saris worn by the desert women. Brightness, contrast and skin tones are consistent and natural. I did not notice any film or film to video artefacts.

     The English subtitles are in a clear yellow font and are easy to read. I noticed only a couple of minor grammatical errors.

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

Audio

     Audio is a choice between Hindi Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps and Hindi Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 Kbps. I listened to the 5.1 which was good, although in truth it did not have a lot to do in a film without explosions or action sequences.

     Dialogue was clear, channels have separation and clarity, the surrounds are used mostly for music and some panning effects which gave a nice feel. The sub woofer was mainly silent except for some music support. The 2.0 track was surround encoded and recorded at a slightly higher level. It seemed fine, but lacked the clarity and separation of the 5.1, which is not surprising. During the closing titles the 5.1 seemed uneven and dropped in sound level, although this did not effect the 2.0.

     Lip synchronisation is fine.

     The original music by Michael Brook is low key but was effective in evoking the mood of the visuals and well supported the film.

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

Extras

Theatrical Trailer (1:57)

Madman Propaganda

     Trailers for other films from Madman: Amreeka (2:12), Teenage Paparazzo (2:37), Summer Coda (2:18) and The Grocer’s Son (1:45).

R4 vs R1

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

     There is a Region 1 US NTSC version of the film. Amazon lists the DVD as containing the film in 1.33:1, non 16x9 enhanced; however a US review indicates that the film is 2.35:1, with Hindi Dolby Digital 2.0 only, and includes a “short” interview segment with the “team”. Make of that as you will. I doubt there is any reason to go beyond our excellent Region 4 PAL version of the film. There is currently no Region 2 version listed.

Summary

     Road, Movie is an Indian film about life choices and the magic of cinema. It is a beautiful film told with humour, compassion and a little sadness which features outstanding, natural performances by the four leads as well as stunning widescreen cinematography.

     The DVD has excellent video, good audio, and a trailer as the only relevant extra.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Friday, May 27, 2011
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

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