The Year of Living Dangerously (NTSC) (1982) (NTSC)

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Released 25-Jun-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romance Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1982
Running Time 114:37
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 1,4 Directed By Peter Weir

Warner Home Video
Starring Mel Gibson
Linda Hunt
Sigourney Weaver
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $19.95 Music Maurice Jarre

Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, plenty
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Based on the novel by Australian, C. J. Koch, The Year of Living Dangerously is a very slow and overly serious drama set in revolutionary Indonesia in the mid-1960s.

    Considering the size and proximity of Indonesia to Australia, there are very few Australian movies or television programs that involve Indonesia or Indonesians. As our largest (and perhaps most threatening) neighbour, I have always found this to be rather unusual. It seems that most Australian's only contact with Indonesia is through the beautiful island of Bali.

    The movie is set during the mid 1960s, when various political groups are seeking to topple the 'puppet master' Sukarno. Australian reporter, Guy Hamilton (Mel Gibson) arrives in Jakarta eager to impress as a foreign correspondent. Guy manages to do so with the help of a very likeable local photographer, Billy Kwan (Linda Hunt). Guy then stumbles onto a huge scoop, but to report it will betray his source -- will Guy betray a friend for a good story?

    The movie portrays the poverty and famine of 1960s Indonesia. A country where the vast population lives in third world squalor. The cinematographer captures the 'real' people and scenery of Indonesia, and it stands in stark contrast to the glossy Bali holiday images. The movie has a good message: While it's easy to be completely overwhelmed by the problems of the world, and to throw one's hands up in surrender, the movie seems to suggest that while we (as individuals) can't help everyone, we can, and should, help those around us.

    The two lead actors are very good in their roles. Mel Gibson, again, has his seemingly required 'running scene'. If you think about all his movies, from Mad Max to Lethal Weapon to Braveheart, they all feature a scene of him desperately running, usually to save, or to catch, someone. I wonder if he has these written into his contract? Linda Hunt is also great. You might recall that she won an Oscar as 'Best Supporting Actress' for her role in playing a man. However, the direction by Peter Weir is not so great. While he has demonstrated his talent for creating taut and gripping drama in many Australian movies, the pacing of this movie is dreadful. The story crawls along at the pace of a Javanese snail. There is also a pathetic attempt to include a romantic sub-plot involving the token American, Sigourney Weaver.

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Transfer Quality


    Overall, the image is reasonable for its age. One of the great things about R4 discs is the superior PAL formatting, but sadly, again Warner Video have provided us with an inferior NTSC transfer.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The sharpness is reasonable, but some images are blurry. The lack of shadow detail in the image is perhaps the worst that I have ever seen.

    The colour is mostly good, albeit a little dark.

    MPEG artefacts were not a great problem, but some subtle posterization did show up on some of the faces. Film-to-video artefacts are present in the form of some mild aliasing, such as the slight shimmer on the air-conditioning grille at 11:39. There was also telecine wobble visible on occasion, but it was never distracting. Film artefacts appear frequently throughout, and some of these are quite large. There is also some mild edge enhancement visible in a few scenes.

    Four sets of subtitles are present, and the English subtitles are accurate.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are three audio options: English, French and Spanish, all in Dolby Digital 1.0. As one might expect with this very dated mono sound, the audio is thin, flat and a little 'tinny'.

    There are occasional problems with dialogue quality and audio sync on the default English audio track.

    The musical score is credited to Maurice Jarre, and it is a very sparse, synthesiser based score.

    Of course, being in Dolby Digital 1.0, there is no surround presence nor subwoofer activity.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    The extras are slim.


    A very simple menu, presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. It is static and silent.

Theatrical Trailer (3:12)

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital 2.0 (mono) audio.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Year of Living Dangerously was released on DVD in Region 1 in February 2002. Our disc appear to be pretty much the same.


    The Year of Living Dangerously is a decent movie, but with better direction and editing, it could have been a great movie. It has all the elements of good and tense drama, but I found myself looking at my watch a few times (and even yawning here and there). I should note that this DVD has an RRP of under $20, so if you already like the movie, it might be a cheap and cheerful addition to your DVD collection.

    The video quality is slightly disappointing but still watchable.

    The audio quality is mono, dated, and very flat.

    The extras are really not worth mentioning.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Wednesday, July 17, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayGrundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
SpeakersSony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer

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