Twilight (1998)

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Released 3-Jul-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time 90:23
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (49:39) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Robert Benton
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Paul Newman
Susan Sarandon
Gene Hackman
Reese Witherspoon
James Garner
Stockard Channing
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Elmer Bernstein


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
French
German
Swedish
Danish
Norwegian
Dutch
Italian
Spanish
Turkish
Italian Titling
French Titling
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

     For me, Twilight was a wasted opportunity. It should have been a great film. With a cast that included Paul Newman, Gene Hackman, Susan Sarandon, James Garner, Reese Witherspoon, Stockard Channing and Liev Schreiber, it should have been a film that had me glued to my television, not wanting to blink in case I missed a brilliant nuance or delivery of a line. As you can probably tell from my general tone, this was not the case.

    Unfortunately, instead I found myself watching the longest 90 minute film ever made. From the outset, there is absolutely no excitement whatsoever and you find yourself caring very little for each character as the film progresses. The story covers a lot of different subplots that eventually intertwine toward the end of the film, but you are still left asking yourself 'who cares?'.

    Primarily, this film is about redemption as we follow our main character, Harry Ross, played by Paul Newman. His character is an ex cop, ex private eye and an ex alcoholic who has seen the ups and downs of life after a failed career and the loss of his wife and daughter.

    After these personal failures, he has been taken in by movie star couple Jack and Catherine Ames (Gene Hackman and Susan Sarandon) and is their sort of 'live in' friend and security man. As well as being there for a service, he enjoys living in their lavish estate, is completely in love with Catherine and occasionally makes deliveries of money for Jack when he needs someone paid off. Whilst delivering one of these payments, the plot of our film begins as one situation leads to another and Harry unravels a mystery that has remained uncovered for 20 years. As the result of the mystery draws ever closer to the people who have taken him in, he must decide whether to do what is right or do what is loyal to those who have loved him.

    The plot/storyline is pretty strong and you sometimes have to listen attentively to know where the story is going, but it takes so long to get anywhere that I found myself growing very tired of every scene very quickly. There are some gems to be found in some of the dialogue however, like this one after Harry has been talking to Catherine discussing some of the films she has made- 'I also remember a movie your husband made. He shot 12 people with a six shot revolver- I'm not going to argue with that kind of marksmanship!'

    All performances are strong with Newman playing the quiet achieving Harry Ross pretty well. Sarandon probably takes my personal award for best performance in this film as she plays an older woman who can use her profile and sex appeal to get what she wants. Sarandon plays it very well and is the highlight for me. Solid performances in much smaller roles go to Hackman, Witherspoon and Channing who are all good but simply float in and out of scenes without much to do; and James Garner is great in his role as another ex cop, Raymond Hope.

    Twilight has a great plot and an even better cast, but unfortunately it plods along with nothing to get the viewer excited until the very end - sadly, it is 45 minutes too late.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer of Twilight is of an acceptable standard. Whilst not being a vibrant transfer with brilliant shadow detail and deep rich colours, it is passable.
    
    The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.
    
    Sharpness is not a problem with this transfer with no remarkable instances to mention here. There are also very minimal amounts of grain to be seen. Some parts of the film are a little soft, but this can be attributed to how the film was shot rather than the DVD transfer. At times, the film looks like a homage to old private eye television shows from the 60s and in my view, the soft look of the film can be attributed to that. This style of shooting unfortunately leaves us with a distinct lack of shadow detail. Constantly throughout the film, there are scenes that appear dark and murky where they shouldn't be. A great example of this can be found at 11:44, another at 13:02 and to a lesser extent at 54:31. For further information on the shadow detail of this transfer, see my comments on the Theatrical Trailer in the extras section. There are no signs of low level noise.

    The colours in this film are deliberately mild and toned down. There are a lot of greys, blacks, whites and browns and the majority of shots are either at night or heavily backlit which will stop most colours coming through.
 
    Impressively, there are no MPEG artefacts to be seem throughout this transfer.

    Aliasing, on the other hand, is rife all the way through the feature. With a lot of shots having natural light shining directly onto objects, there is rarely a scene without aliasing being noticeable. Some good a examples can be found at 1:52, 18:35, 18:45, 23:49, 24:23, 26:12, 45:39 and 57:07. A slight shimmer can also be found at 11:47.

    There is a very odd artefact present in the transfer of this film. Now and again, usually shortly after (but not precisely on) a scene or angle change, the picture will jump up about half a centimetre and then fall back into place. From my experience, it almost looks like a dropped frame or where a splice may have been placed in the source material, but there are no other indicators to suggest this, such as frame lines, splicing tape or a lab splice. The best place to notice this is at 28:22- you will see that there is a scene change, then one frame, then the picture move up and down over the next two frames. Other places where this occurs are at 66:44, 70:40, 70:47, 72:17. This is a really weird one, folks! If anyone has any ideas as to what this problem may be, please post your comments in the user comments section below.

    There are constant film artefacts with flecks of dust and grime throughout the film- none of these are noticeable enough to divert your attention from the action (or lack of) but they are visible nonetheless. Probably the worst example is at 69:59.

    The subtitles in this film are fairly accurate, but have been dumbed-down quite a bit to make them easier to read. I watched about 15 minutes of these subtitles and found this to be the case.
 
    This is an RSDL disc with stunning placement of the layer change. I could not notice the layer change until I went searching for it and found it perfectly placed at 49:39- at the change of a scene with no music.    

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

Audio

    Generally, the audio transfer of this disc is good. The film itself does not allow for much in the way of ear-splitting effects and grunt, but all the necessary facets of a good transfer are there.   
 
    The dialogue quality is good with no specific problems in terms of audio sync or inability to hear what is said. For such a heavily dialogue-based film, this is very good. As there are so many characters and so many twists and turns in the plot, it would be nearly impossible to follow the plot if the audio transfer was not up to scratch.    

    Elmer Bernstein's score is very interesting, and is very different to your normal orchestral score   Bernstein uses plenty of piano and brass instruments to give his score an older feel (presumably to go with the older actors) that really reminds you of a 50s Private Eye show. It suits the film perfectly and adds a sense of mystery and style to the piece.
 
    There is not a lot of surround use in this film as they are just not suitable for most of the film. When there is a need for surrounds, they are used well, but otherwise they are just there to add delicate effects when required and to add an exclamation point to some scenes.

    The subwoofer does not get used very much other than for a couple of fleeting instances. Again, there is just no suitable place for it.

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

Extras

 

    The extras are disappointing, with this disc containing only a trailer. For a film with such a stunning cast, I thought that there could have at least been interviews or cast bios. Unfortunately, others thought differently.

Menu

    A static collection of actors' headshots in front of Los Angeles. The menu is 16x9 enhanced.

Theatrical Trailer (2:22)

    This trailer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with an English Dolby Surround 2.0 soundtrack running at 192kb/s. This trailer plays better than the film and serves to highlight the inefficiencies in the film's transfer above. There are scenes in the trailer that appear in the film with terrible shadow detail- in this trailer, they appear bright and clear. Compare 00:31 in the trailer to 23:41 in the film and 00:39 in the trailer to 11:45 in the film and you will see what I mean. Sure, these scenes are dark in nature when presented in the film, but the shadow detail in these scenes when presented in the trailer is much better.

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;     Whilst there is not much of a difference in terms of content between the Region 1 and the local release of this film, the RSDL treatment and the superior PAL format makes the Region 4 the version of choice.

Summary

     For me, Twilight is a film that is just too slow for the first 60 minutes. Despite the stellar cast and good plot, the lack of pace is a more memorable factor than anything else.

    The video transfer is acceptable.

    The audio transfer is good.

    The extras are.... well,  2:22 in length.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Hugh Fotheringham (what the hell is going on in bio??)
Thursday, June 13, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-S525, using Component output
DisplayLoewe Xelos (81cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS797- THX Select
SpeakersJamo X550 Left and Right, Jamo X5CEN Centre, Jamo X510 Surround

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