29 Palms (2001)

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Sell-Through Release Status Unknown
Available for Rent

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 89:27 (Case: 92)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Leonardo Ricagni
Studio
Distributor

Imagine Entertainment
Starring Chris O'Donnell
Rachael Leigh Cook
Michael Rapaport
Bill Pullman
David Keith
Jeremy Davies
Case Click
RPI Rental Music Mario Grigorov


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, After the credits

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Plot Synopsis

    29 Palms is in essence a movie about a bag of money, who owns it, who has it now, and who's going to end up with it. The money starts out as the property of the local Indian Chief (Russell Means) who's giving it to the Hitman (Chris O'Donnell) to kill the local Judge's clerk who is suspected of being an FBI undercover agent trying to prove that the Judge (Michael Lerner) is corrupt and planing to rule to allow the Indians to expand their Casino. When the Chief's initial attempt to take care of the suspected agent fails, it results in the clerk going on the run and becoming The Drifter (Jeremy Davies). As it turns out, the Hitman doesn't hold on to the money for long because the Casino Security Guard (Jon Polito) steals it from him before he leaves the premises. Unfortunately for the guard, he gets shot in the process and this eventually causes him to crash his car. The Cop (Michael Rapaport) who investigates the crashed car decides to take the money for himself, leaving the injured security guard in the car. The cop sends the bag as freight to the little town of 29 Palms, planning to collect it at a later time. Loitering in the 29 Palms bus station is the Drifter. The Bus Clerk (Bill Pullman), who now has the bag for the Cop to collect, calls the Sheriff (Keith David) to move the Drifter on. Before leaving, the Drifter takes the bag, not realising it's contents. On discovering the cash he uses some of it to buy a car which brings him into contact with the Waitress (Rachael Leigh Cook) who is stranded with her broken-down car in the desert.

    Having introduced you to all the characters, there's not much to say other than all of these people want the bag and as the story unfolds they come together in various permutations and in different situations in which one has the bag and another tries to take possession of it.

    This movie doesn't have a single likeable character in it. It also doesn't have any characters that most of us would be able to identify with. Even the characters that legitimately own the money are using it for no good. Certainly there was no hero or anyone who you might feel deserved the money. For me at least, there wasn't anybody I wanted to end up with the money. This movie certainly doesn't fit into a standard formula, so depending on your view this either makes it fantastic, unique and something to be treasured because of its relative rarity or disappointing because there's no hero, no good guy and no happy ending. So before you go and buy or rent this one, you should decide which category you fit into in order to avoid disappointment.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is a good transfer with only a few flaws. Some edge enhancement has been applied, and while it's not likely to be distracting it is visible without having to strain your eyes.

    This transfer has been 16x9 enhanced and the picture is displayed in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. I wasn't able to find out the original theatrical ratio but I'll venture that it was probably 1.85:1.

    The picture was generally quite sharp although there were occasional soft shots which can most likely be put down to camera work rather than a fault in the transfer. Shadow detail was generally good although a couple of times this did seem to be reduced resulting in a somewhat murky looking picture. Blacks were solid and free of low level noise.

    This movie sports a full palette which has been faithfully transferred to the DVD. Skin tones look natural and have also been accurately transferred.

    Film artefacts were limited to a few infrequent small marks and fine film grain which was evident at all times. Film to video artefacts consisted of  a couple of occasions of mild aliasing. One thing that is noticeable during the end credit roll is that the picture seems to have some vertical non-linearity with a central band that appears to magnify the image slightly in comparison to the top and bottom of the image. It's hard to say whether this effect is present throughout the entire movie as it is relatively subtle and not easy to detect without some object that moves slowly vertically up or down the screen.

    No subtitles are provided on this disc.

    This movie is presented on a single layered disc and consequently there is no layer change to disrupt your viewing experience.

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

Audio

    This disc offers essentially a flawless audio transfer, but this is not a movie which relies on much more than its dialogue from an audio standpoint.

    A single audio track is provided on this disc; English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded.

    There were no problems with the audio sync and the dialogue was generally completely understandable, although there were one or two occasions where a few words were difficult to make out as a result of their low volume or because of multiple characters speaking simultaneously.

    The musical score by Mario Grigorov was reminiscent of the type of music featured on old Westerns and somehow this seemed quite a suitable theme for the movie since it is set in a very remote and desolate desert location. The original score was supported by plenty of other music including one of my favourite songs - These Are The Days.

    The surround channels don't play a big part in the sound design of this movie and are only used very subtly.

    With bass sound redirected to the subwoofer you will find that this is used to support the musical score and sound effects when necessary.

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

Extras

    The extras are limited to a trailer.

Menu

    The menu is displayed in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced. It features animation and Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

Theatrical Trailer

    This runs for 1:51, has Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded audio and is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

R4 vs R1

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

    This title appears to only be available on DVD in Region 4.

Summary

    29 Palms was, at least for me, a good movie to watch once. It started out a bit slowly but things started to move along faster once the money appeared. The only trouble was that after the money had changed hands what seemed like a million times it also started to get a bit tedious and I started to wonder if the movie would ever end.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The extras are limited to a trailer.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Peter Cole (Surely you've got something better to do than read my bio)
Saturday, December 21, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-515, using S-Video output
DisplaySony VPL-VW10HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-995
SpeakersFront L&R - B&W DM603, Centre - B&W LCR6, Rear L&R - B&W DM602, Sub - Yamaha YST-SW300

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