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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Gettin' Square (2003)

Gettin' Square (2003)

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Released 5-Apr-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Biographies-Cast & Crew-Shady People
Audio Commentary-Director And Writer
Deleted Scenes-With Optional Commentary
Notes-Shady Speak
Theatrical Trailer
TV Spots
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Featurette-Popcorn Taxi Q & A
Music Highlights-Gettin' Square Soundtrack
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 98:10
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jonathan Teplitzky
Macquarie Film Corp
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Sam Worthington
David Wenham
Timothy Spall
Freya Stafford
Gary Sweet
David Roberts
David Field
Luke Pegler
Richard Carter
Mitchell Butel
Garry Waddell
John Brumpton
Helen Thomson
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music None Given

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    It's not easy...
...Gettin' Square

    Gettin' Square when applied to most of the characters in this devilishly funny Australian comedy is another term for going straight, or leaving a life of crime and pursuing a more peaceful existence on the right side of the law. Set on Queensland's Gold Coast, this is a classic comedy that must surely be ranked as one of the finest and downright funniest ever made in this country.

    Barry Wirth (Sam Worthington) has finally been paroled after eight years in the slammer serving time for a crime he insists he didn't do. All he wants to do now is go home, look after his little brother and get square. Unfortunately for Barry, he's still got a few mates hanging around that are just a little bit shadier than a pull-down awning and, making matters worse, he is still hounded by the mongrel dog in suspected bent copper DeViers (David Field). It was DeViers who allegedly fitted him up for his original stint in prison and for some reason still bears a grudge against Barry and refuses to believe he can go straight. But the tale doesn't focus solely on the troubles of one ex-con. One of Barry's closest buddies from prison has also just been released on parole. Johnny Spiteri (or Spit as he is known to all and sundry), played with absolute relish by an almost unrecognisable David Wenham, is also trying to get square. Unfortunately for Spit he is not the brightest sheep in the paddock and is also a heroin addict and complete no-hoper at basically anything he tries. On release, he gets himself involved with crime-boss Chicka Martin (Gary Sweet) who is also taking an interest again in young Barry, since he was also originally involved in the crime that saw Barry spend the time in prison. Getting square is proving to be a challenge for Barry, but virtually impossible for Spit. Hope is at hand for Barry when ex-con and now reformed criminal (or so he says) Darren Barrington (Timothy Spall) is having trouble getting a decent chef at his less-than-successful restaurant. As a bit of a whiz in the kitchen, Dabba offers Barry the chance of a good job and it seems the chance to finally earn a decent, honest living is at hand. That is of course until the special investigators from the Crime Investigation Commission start knocking on Dabba's door asking about laundered money.

    When you are surrounded by certain people almost every day of your working life, it's a little difficult not to be affected by them. Such is the case with writer Chris Nyst, a prominent Queensland lawyer by day and budding screenwriter by night. So prominent is he in his day job he recently represented Pauline Hanson in her battle to have her electoral fraud conviction overturned. Nyst has crafted a series of characters for this film that are a pure joy. There are no caricatures or stereotyped criminals here (and no Pauline Hansons for that matter!), just funny, endearing and downright ordinary people doing the best they can in life with the limited resources they have. The character of Johnny Spiteri is an absolute hoot that Wenham plays for every cent. With a greasy mullet haircut, a wardrobe straight out of the Op Shop bargain bin, including a pair of amazing flip-flopping rubber thongs that you can often hear before his character appears on screen, and an almost child-like personality, this is true understated comic acting at its best. Even the moments of slapstick such as Spiteri falling off his chair in court or the crazy antics he gets up to when left alone in an interview room are not in the slightest contrived or caricatured.

    This film is one that will be talked about lovingly for years to come and is destined to become a cult classic in much the same way as The Castle did several years ago.

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Transfer Quality


    Unfortunately I would have to describe this recent release transfer as quite disappointing. There are some very noticeable and really quite annoying compression artefacts marring the image throughout almost the entire runtime. This is a shame, since apart from that one serious blemish the rest of the transfer is quite good.

    The transfer is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    Sharpness is excellent, as is shadow detail. There is no edge enhancement noticeable and grain is not an issue at all.

    The colours are quite excellent with the bright and gaudy exteriors captured very nicely when needed. The bright yellow of the prison uniforms is particularly striking. Skin tones are perfect and the black levels are solid and true.

    As mentioned there are almost continual compression artefacts in the form of minor image break-up in certain sections of the screen almost throughout the entire duration of the film. The most notable examples occur at 22:36 just as the lift opens, 31:44-31:47 as David Wenham's character is looking in the mirror, 38:00 on the side of Dabba's while he is at the pool table, 41:32-41:44 on Dabba's face again, 61:11 and 61:25 in the courtroom scene, 65:27, 68:16, and 68:38 again on Wenham's face, and at 73:03 and 73:14 on DeViers' head.

    There is only one subtitle track, being English for the Hearing Impaired, and it is accurate enough.

    This is a dual layered disc, but oddly enough the film has been squeezed onto one layer and all the extras are on the second layer. As a result there is no layer change with which to contend, but I can't help but think this may be the cause of some of the compression problems.

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


    There are three audio soundtracks on this disc. English Dolby Digital 5.1 and English Dolby Digital 2.0 round out the selections for the film dialogue, while an English Dolby Digital 2.0 commentary track is the third option.

    Despite featuring plenty of dialogue, which is anchored to the centre channel, there are plenty of directional effects and use of all speakers throughout the 5.1 soundtrack. The music is especially well represented with some solid thumping efforts from the soundtrack.

    Dialogue is precise and clear with no audio sync problems.

    The music used in the soundtrack is an important element here, and with songs from the likes of Groove Armada, The Vines, Machine Gun Fellatio, and Nick Cave it is a solid thumping soundtrack.

    There is consistent surround channel use for whenever the action hots up or for providing a decent enveloping exterior presence.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Main Menu Introduction

Main Menu Audio & Animation

Biographies-Cast & Crew

    Comprehensive and detailed biographies and selected filmographies for virtually the entire cast and some crew. There are also mock biographies for the actual characters from the film.

Audio Commentary

    A screen-specific commentary from director Jonathan Teplitzky and writer Chris Nyst. They do tend to lapse into describing what is occurring on the screen a little too often, but they do lace it with enough background information and interesting anecdotes to keep it from falling into the mundane. Worth a listen.

Deleted Scenes

    There are three deleted scenes and one extended scene available for viewing with either the normal soundtrack or a director and writer commentary. They run for between 0:41 and 2:04 and all are presented in a non-16x9 enhanced aspect ratio of 1.85:1.


    22 photos taken from the film, all presented at a decent enough size to be seen.

Notes - Shady Speak

    This is good. Four pages of text, no doubt aimed squarely at the international audience who may just struggle with some of the Australian slang throughout the film. Definitions of such classic terms as carked it, chill out, dead cert, duck's nuts, and woodduck are all offered.

Theatrical Trailer

    A groovy looking trailer that runs for 2:11. Doesn't spoil too many gags and captures the mischievous spirit of the film really well.

TV Spots

    Four TV spots that run for around 20-30 seconds each (total running time for the four is 1:29). They are all sort of mini versions of the theatrical trailer and all are very similar to each other.

Interviews-Cast & Crew

    There are four sets of quite comprehensive interviews available through this option. All are simply talking head style interviews where you don't get to hear the question asked, but do have a pretty good idea of what the questions may have been. The interviews are with director Jonathan Teplitzky (9:55), writer Chris Nyst (11:02), and actors David Wenham (10:09) and Timothy Spall (13:16)

Featurette -Popcorn Taxi Q & A

    Now this is a good extra. It is a 36:48 question and answer session with the director Jonathan Teplitzky, producer Martin Fabinyi, and cast member David Field. It was held at Valhalla cinema in Glebe, Sydney on 31 October 2003 and after an introduction with fellow director Robert Connolly (The Bank) the audience members get to ask questions of the cast/crew. Primarily these are answered by Teplitzky, but the detail they go into is excellent, with some intelligent questions and eloquent answers forthcoming.

Music Highlights

    There's three parts to this option. There are two music videos from MGF (Voices in My Head - 3:32, and Knickers On My Head - 2:00), plus a 0:29 television commercial for the CD soundtrack for the film.

R4 vs R1

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

    Gettin' Square is yet to be released in Region 1.


    Gettin' Square will go down as one of the best Australian comedies of all time. It's as simple as that. In ten years we'll be lovingly discussing this film in much the same way we like to talk about The Castle. It's smart, it's funny, and it's genuine in its portrayal of people down-on-their-luck. In fact, the real strength of the film lies in the charm of its characters. They are interesting, endearing and invoke a great deal of empathy with the viewer. You can't help but cheer for the bad guy and watching the antics of David Wenham with a mullet and thongs as a scruffy, grubby, no-hoper druggie is worth the price of a rental alone - it's a case of pure comic genius. This really is the duck's nuts.

    The video quality is unfortunately slightly flawed with excessive compression artefacts littering the image throughout.

    The audio is the opposite - being a corker of a soundtrack.

    The extras are comprehensive.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Monday, April 05, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5106DO, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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