Sexy Beast (Rental) (2000)

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Rental Version Only
Available for Rent

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Trailer-Kiss Of The Dragon; Lantana; Joy Ride; Someone Like You
Trailer-Tigerland; Planet Of The Apes (2001)
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 85:07
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jonathan Glazer
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Ray Winstone
Ben Kingsley
Ian McShane
Amanda Redman
Cavan Kendall
Julianne White
Alvaro Monje
James Fox
Case ?
RPI Rental Music Roque Banos


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/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 for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    I found Sexy Beast to be a truly chilling drama. The tension that the film creates borders on the uncomfortable, and while there are some comedic moments, the majority of the laughter comes not from comedy, but from the occasional, temporary release from the tension that has been building.

    The tension and drama can be attributed pretty much to one character, Don Logan, played by Ben Kingsley. His portrayal of a truly psychopathic, sadistic criminal is a work of genius. He is totally believable - you can see the madness in his eyes. The body language is perfect - this really goes beyond acting. At times you scrunch down in your seat in the hope that he won't notice you sitting over there. It sounds crazy I know, but at times his performance is so powerful that you are totally drawn into the world of the film.

    This is not to say that the other characters in this film do not also give great performances, but they are simply overshadowed by Kingsley. Their portrayal of the objects of Logan's displeasure is great and you can very easily put yourself in their shoes.

    Ray Winstone plays Gal, a British criminal who has retired after a stretch in gaol. He is very happily married and has moved to Spain for his retirement. Into this idyllic setting arrives Don Logan who wants Gal to come out of retirement for one last big job back in England. Even though Gal is terrified of Don, he attempts to say a soft but firm no to the offer. This is not received well by Don. The interaction between Don, Gal and his wife, and two friends of theirs who also knew Don back in England becomes the focus of our story. Lying beneath the tension and occasional graphic violence is a story about true love and about standing up for what you believe in.

    Remember the good old days of VHS rental tapes, the ones with all those trailers at the start that you had to fast forward through? Well, they are included on this disc, all 11:44 worth of them. Thankfully, the menu button works to bypass these if you are not interested in watching them.

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

Transfer Quality

Video

    Like the tired and patently untrue cliché about brains and beauty, with a single layer disc you can have either sharpness or MPEG artefacts, and here we sacrifice sharpness.

    Thankfully presented at 2.35:1 and 16x9 enhanced, the cinematography in this film simply would have been destroyed had it been reduced to Pan & Scan. The entire 2.35:1 frame has been brilliantly used both for wide vistas and for positioning characters on screen in ways that display the tension that is being built.

    As mentioned, the sharpness is not great. It varies from acceptable for close-ups to poor for distance shots; fine detail is missing from many scenes. Shadow detail is good and there is no low level noise.

    The colours are good and the skin tones accurate. There is no chroma noise present.

    Other than one peculiar scene, there are no noticeable MPEG artefacts. The one exception is at 18:47 where Ben Kingsley is walking through the airport. The camera is panning along as he is walking but he moves up and down within the frame. His beard is heavily macro-blocked and for some reason there is a blurred outline around his face and in particular his nose that moves preceding any movement of his face. Visible in this scene and many others, such as at 54:48, is a fair amount of edge enhancement. There are a small number of small white flecks visible throughout the film and a small amount of grain is also present.

    The disc includes English subtitles for the Hearing Impaired. These appear at the bottom of the frame and are easy to read. They are pretty accurate with only the longest of sentences being paraphrased.

    This is a single layered disc.

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

Audio

     There is a single English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack present.

    The dialogue quality is excellent throughout the film and there were no problems with audio sync.

    The musical score was particularly interesting. At times, the music becomes very minimalist and almost monotonic with percussive accompaniment. I found that this really helped build the tension within the film. A sterling effort by Roque Baños.

    The surrounds have been put to great use with some particularly good examples of split surround use. Some of the scene changes are sharp and jarring and the soundstage tracks these precisely. One scene contains a motorbike that is moving off across the scene. The perspective changes on this from front to back a couple of times. Each time the sound from the motorbike is in precisely the correct location relative to the scene.

    There is exactly the correct amount of subwoofer use in this film. The LFE track is used to good effect precisely where it belongs, not drawing attention to itself but blending in very well. This is not to say that there is a lack of bass - at times there are some thundering low effects.

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

Extras

     This is a rental-only disc so there are not many extras. In fact, there are none.

Menu

    A simple static menu with no audio.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    As this is a rental disc, we cannot do a fair R4 vs R1 comparison at this time, although it should be noted that reviews of the extras on Region 1 sites do not speak highly of them.

Summary

    Sexy Beast will not appeal to all people, particularly those who are sensitive to foul language of which there is a very large amount. Nonetheless, there are many reasons to see this film including some of the best performances on-screen that I have seen in a long time.

    The video is somewhat disappointing.

    The audio is excellent.

    We will have to wait for the sell through release to judge the extras for ourselves.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Terry McCracken (read my bio)
Tuesday, March 26, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDSkyworth 1050p progressive scan, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252Q CRT Projector, 254cm custom built 1.0 gain screen. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.
AmplificationSony STR-DB1070
SpeakersB&W DM305 (mains); CC3 (centre); S100 (surrounds); custom Adire Audio Tempest with Redgum plate amp (subwoofer)

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