|Year Of Production||1998|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (49:39)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Programme|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Robert Benton|
Paramount Home Entertainment
|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|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
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.
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.
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.
|Surround Channel Use|
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.
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 video transfer is acceptable.
The audio transfer is good.
The extras are.... well, 2:22 in length.
|DVD||Sony DVP-S525, using Component output|
|Display||Loewe Xelos (81cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD player.|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-DS797- THX Select|
|Speakers||Jamo X550 Left and Right, Jamo X5CEN Centre, Jamo X510 Surround|