The Sin Eater (The Order) (2003)

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Released 7-Sep-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Main Menu Introduction
Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Brian Helgeland (Director)
Deleted Scenes-With Optional Director's Commentary
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 98:04
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Brian Helgeland
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Heath Ledger
Shannyn Sossamon
Benno Fürmann
Mark Addy
Peter Weller
Francesco Carnelutti
Mattia Sbragia
Mirko Casaburo
Giulia Lombardi
Richard Bremmer
Cristina Maccà
Paola Emilia Villa
Rosalinda Celentano
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $36.95 Music David Torn


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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 English for the Hearing Impaired
Danish
Dutch
Finnish
Icelandic
Norwegian
Swedish
Dutch Audio Commentary
English Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

   

"Every Soul Has Its Price"

 

    Heath Ledger is Father Alex Bernier, a renegade member of an obscure order of priests called the Carolingians. When the head of the Order dies, Alex is sent to Rome by Father Driscoll (Peter Weller) to investigate the mysterious death. Strange marks on the dead body resemble signs that Alex discovers as being made by a "sin eater" - that is someone who has the ability to absolve sins and grant a pathway to heaven outside of the confines of the church. The sin eater does not die naturally, and so can exist for centuries before his "gift" is passed to another. Alex and his friend Father Thomas (Mark Addy) join with troubled artist Mara Sinclair (Shannyn Sossamon) in searching for the sin eater who they eventually contact in St. Peter's Cathedral. The sin eater William Eden (Benno Fürmann), explains his transition which occurred during the Renaissance period and how to perform the rights of absolution. He also suggests that Alex should take his place and become the next sin eater. Alex falls in love with Mara and is conflicted in his priestly duties but rejects Eden's offer. Eden however is not to be thwarted and puts matters in place to entrap Alex in the role. Needless to say the fate of Alex and his friends revolve around the plotting Eden and the shadowy Driscoll.

    The Sin Eater, (also known as The Order) is not a bad film but labours under a cloak of piety and pseudo catholic dogma that is never really lifted. Ledger is pale and wan and strangely unemotional despite all the goings on, but fortunately Fürmann as the sin eater is suitable mysterious as the centuries old "angel". The rest of the cast are convincing enough and go through the motions with apparent sincerity despite the ludicrousness of the plot and heavy script. Although this is a horror story there are few genuinely scary moments that you can't see coming from a mile away. The filmmaking itself however is quite well done with the excellent cinematography and set design creating a suitable atmosphere. The film's music score is also hauntingly effective and carries the sombre mood throughout. Director/writer Brian Helgeland worked with Ledger, Addy and Sossamon on "A Knight's Tale" but doesn't quite capture the magic of the former film. It's almost good - but not quite.

      

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Transfer Quality

Video

   This DVD is presented in the original aspect of 1.85:1 and is anamorphically enhanced. The video quality overall is quite good although a bit on the soft side with noticeable grain. There is no evidence of dirt or flecks however compression artefacts were evident in dark scenes. Exterior scenes were quite a bit sharper however this also made the edge enhancement more obvious. Colours were good throughout although usually on the sombre side which is in keeping with the overall mood of the film.

There are English, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Icelandic, Swedish and Norwegian subtitles on this disc. There are also English and Dutch subtitles for the audio commentary.

This is a dual layer disc with the layer change undetectable on my player.


    

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

Audio

    The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is encoded at 448Kb/s. Also available is a DTS 5.1 track at 754Kb/s and a Director's commentary track using Dolby Digital 2.0 encoded at 192Kb/s. I listened to the DTS track in entirety and sampled the Dolby Digital track on occasions. There were only slight differences between these two offerings but generally the DTS track was preferred due to greater depth in the sound stage and clearer dialogue. Surround effects were used effectively although this is a very front centred sound stage. The dialogue was clear and in synch with the video. The film score by David Torn is effective at maintaining the brooding atmosphere and complements the scares well.

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu is static with a looping but atmospheric audio backing.

Audio Commentary

    Audio Commentary by director/writer Brian Helgeland. Not a must listen although some interesting snippets of information from Helgeland.

Deleted Scenes - with or excluding commentary from Helgeland (9:47)

    Seven somewhat interesting but instantly forgettable deleted scenes playable singly or all in sequence.

  

R4 vs R1

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

    The Sin Eater is also known as The Order in the US. The R1 version misses out on a DTS track and has different language and subtitle options. It does however include a theatrical trailer which won't excite many. There is a Blu-ray version available in the US but it does not seem to have much additional to offer. The R4 version with DTS is definitely the superior choice on DVD.

Summary

    Heath Ledger's untimely death was a real loss to the world of film with a distinguished catalogue of work that seemed to be getting stronger. The Sin Eater however lies amongst his more forgettable efforts. Ledger does offer a brooding intensity which is in keeping with the story however he never seems to break out of this funk in spite of events unfolding around him. This may have been due to direction however his opponent as played by Fürmann managed to portray a lot more depth in his role. Despite it's fairly plodding plot there is much to like about The Sin Eater without making it a must see film. Tentatively recommended - especially if you're a Ledger fan.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is good.

    Extras are mildly interesting.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Mike B (read my bio)
Saturday, July 09, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910 and Panasonic BD-35, using HDMI output
DisplayPanasonic TH-58PZ850A. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
Amplificationdenon AVR-4311 pre-out to Elektra Theatron 7 channel amp
SpeakersB&W LCR600 centre and 603s3 mains, Niles in ceiling surrounds, SVS PC-Ultra Sub, Definitive Technology Supercube II Sub

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