The Invisible Circus (2000)

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Released 18-Feb-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Menu Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-Rain
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 89:03
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Adam Brooks
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Cameron Diaz
Jordana Brewster
Christopher Eccleston
Case Soft Brackley-Transp
RPI $34.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/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 Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Based on the novel by Jennifer Egan, The Invisible Circus was written and directed by Adam Brooks. This is the story of two sisters, told from the perspective of the younger one and as a series of flashbacks for the older. Cameron Diaz stars as the older Faith, a free-spirited hippy-type who believes she can change the world. In the mid 1960s, she leaves her comfortable middle-class home and heads to Europe with her boyfriend Wolf (Christopher Eccleston). In between staging a few harmless political stunts, she manages to get mixed up with the wrong people and meets an untimely death that is reported as a suicide. Her younger sister Phoebe (Jordana Brewster) never believed that story and now, six years later, despite the urgings of her mother not to go, decides to travel to Europe. She wants to find out for herself exactly what happened to her sister and seek some resolution to the heartbreak she has felt since Faith's death. Phoebe meets up with Wolf and together they retrace Faith's journey through Amsterdam, Paris, and finally Portugal, where Faith supposedly fell from a high cliff-top at a small village.

    The Invisible Circus is a reasonably complex story that is told as a remarkably short film with a running time of only 89 minutes. The two stories are interwoven, but not in a particularly clever or artistic way which leaves the viewer with many more questions than answers. I also felt that the characters just weren't given enough time to develop. A great deal goes on in the middle stages of the film and it all seemed a little rushed to me.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    A very nice transfer has been afforded this title with few problems of any note to report.

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, this video transfer also features 16x9 enhancement.

    The level of sharpness is spot-on with only the barest traces of edge enhancement. See the back of Pheobe's blouse at 52:33 for an example. There is also a very minor case of haloing on Christopher's shirt in the same scene. Shadow detail is well handled with few problems during the dingy scenes. There is minor grain throughout, mostly on the backgrounds of scenes set inside, though it is not at all disruptive. There is no low level noise.

    I thought the colours were both good and bad. The two story threads are shot with slightly different colours dominating. The late 1960s flashback scenes exhibit very warm and rich golden tones, with oranges and reds dominating. This causes the skin tones to exhibit a slightly unnatural orange tinge which I found a little over the top at times. The mid 1970s scenes are more natural with some very nicely saturated exterior scenes and natural looking skin tones. There are no problems with oversaturation or bleeding.

    I noticed no MPEG artefacts. There were a couple of cases of minor shimmer, such as on some external shutters at 32:18. There were also very few film artefacts. Overall, this is a pretty clean transfer.

    There is only one subtitle option available, that being English for the Hearing Impaired. They are quite accurate and well presented.

    This is a single layered disc only, and therefore there is no layer change to contend with.

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

Audio

    There is only one audio track available on this disc. It is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at the higher bit-rate of 448Kb/s. It is quite dynamic in its range with some particularly deep bass supported during some of the scenes where the score overlays the action. A wide soundstage is presented, though there is little use of the rear channels.

    Dialogue is clear at all times and there are no audio sync problems.

    The score is quite dramatic at times and is used to good effect to heighten suspense.

    There is little rear channel use.

    The subwoofer sees little sound-effect use, being mostly utilised for the deep bass tones of some of the musical score.

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

Extras

Menu Audio

    The score playing in an endless loop. Audio is provided by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Dolby Digital Trailer

    Rain

Theatrical Trailer

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, this trailer is not 16x9 enhanced and runs for 1:53 minutes. Audio is Dolby Digital 2.0. A trailer that doesn't give away too much, which is a good thing.

R4 vs R1

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

    I had some difficulty finding this disc in Region 1. As such, I would favour the local disc at this stage.

Summary

   The Invisible Circus is a reasonably well made film that uses the real locations for all the European scenes. As such, the images of Paris and Portugal are especially rewarding and authentic. I felt that the characters were only partially developed, with Cameron Diaz's Faith in particular seemingly only along for the ride. The whole story is let down by being a bit boring at either end and a little rushed in the middle.

    The video is above average with only a couple of minor problems to report.

    The audio is serviceable, though this is not a DVD to use as a demo disc.

    There are virtually no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Saturday, February 16, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5006DD, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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