Arlington Road (Universal) (1999)
|Year Of Production||1999|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (59:54)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Mark Pellington|
Universal Pictures Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Auto Pan & Scan Encoded||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.40:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Michael meets his new neighbours after he saves the life of their son, Brady (Mason Gamble), who is seriously injured while playing with fireworks. This unfortunate incident is a blessing for Michael and Grant as they are soon good friends of Oliver (Tim Robbins), Cheryl (Joan Cusack) and the rest of the Lang family. Oliver is an architect who is supposed to be working on some alterations to a local shopping mall. All is not what it seems though, and Michael becomes suspicious of Oliver when he sees some blueprints of an office building that Oliver claims are of the mall. Michael begins to investigate and this leads him on a downward spiral to disaster.
This is one intense thriller! You are hooked in early by a confronting opening sequence and held there by the strong performances of Jeff Bridges and Tim Robbins. The direction and cinematography are both excellent as is the writing, all of which make this an excellent watch. Some suspension of disbelief is required, but if you hang in there you are rewarded for your efforts. This is definitely worth renting, and if you're a fan of good thrillers, worth adding to your collection.
The sharpness of this transfer is generally good, although there are a couple of occasions when it looks a little soft. I noted one example of this at 6:04-6:24, where Tim Robbins and Joan Cusack appear to be slightly out of focus. Shadow detail is excellent, while the black level suffers a little due to an overly bright transfer. Highlights sometimes blow out and become featureless blobs which I found slightly distracting.
The contrast level is also high, although I don't think that this is a problem with the transfer but rather appears to be a deliberate choice on the part of the filmmakers, one, I imagine, intended to add impact to the film.
The colours in this film are, for the most part, excellent. My only criticism is that skin tones often have an orange/red look to them that appears to be caused by the use of tungsten lighting and daylight film. I noted one obvious occurrence of this at 44:12-45:36. At other times, skin tones are perfect. Watch the section at 66:44-68:04 for an example of this.
There are two types of MPEG artefact present in this transfer; pixelization and macro-blocking. Minor occurrences are seen in darker scenes such as at 15:03-15:25 and more obviously at 70:45-70:50. I also noticed them during a fast camera pan that passes an olive-coloured wall at 52:27-52:29. Grain is extremely fine and essentially invisible.
Film-to-video artefacts are found and take the form of aliasing and moiré effects. Aliasing is not a particularly bad problem. The following sequences contain typical examples: 31:55-32:01, 33:08-33:20 and 50:53-51:19. Moiré effects are a little more obvious, but only slightly distracting. See 13:04-13:15 and 98:23-98:27 for examples of this artefact.
Film artefacts were almost non-existent. I saw one or two small black or white flecks flash past but each was tiny and easily ignored. I did see one odd oval-shaped artefact which must have been on the camera lens as it moved when the camera panned. It was visible during the period 36:00-36:29 and did not appear again.
This is an RSDL disc with the layer change occurring at 59:54. On my Philips DVD-711, the layer change took approximately 3/4 of a second and was not overly disruptive to the flow of the movie.
There are two audio tracks present, each Dolby Digital 5.1 and encoded at a bit rate of 448 kb/s. These tracks are in English and German. I listened to the English track. I was pleased to note that the higher Dolby Digital bit rate was used for this disc, as I feel it improves the fidelity of the score which is an essential part of this film.
Dialogue was always clear, even during the tense action sequences. Audio sync was never a problem.
The score is by Angelo Badalamenti with additional music by TOMANDANDY. This score beautifully supports the on-screen action. It is a little unusual being very percussive and driving at times while at others, quite eerie. It is nicely mixed into the surrounds which increases its effectiveness.
Surround activity is very limited. The rears are used only to carry the score but are put to good use in this regard. There is quite a lot of dialogue in this film and for long periods of time, only the centre channel is active. During other periods, ambient sounds are added to the mains. A good example of this can be found at 33:08-35:10.
Normally one would consider such limited use of the surrounds for effects work a negative. However, I felt that the driving, rhythmic nature of the score made up for this absence. Having said that, I'm sure that the car chase scene, towards the end of the film, would have been greatly enhanced by appropriate use of the surrounds for effects.
The subwoofer was well used to support both the score and the action sequences. Good examples of its use supporting the score can be found at 1:32-1:44 and 39:52-42:22. A stand-out example of its use supporting the action can be found at 103:31-103:45.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Given that the quality of the Region 1 disc appears to be similar to our own and the extras present are of high quality, I would have to give the nod to the Region 1 version.
|DVD||Philips 711, using S-Video output|
|Display||Grundig M70-281. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Mains and Rears: Tannoy Mercury M1. Centre: Tannoy Mercury MC. Subwoofer: Polk Audio PSW-120|