What Becomes of the Broken Hearted (1999)

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Released 12-Sep-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Menu Audio
Featurette-Making Of
Biographies-Cast & Crew
TV Spots-2
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 98:34 (Case: 91)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (67:10) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Ian Mune

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Temuera Morrison
Clint Eruera
Nancy Brunning
Rena Owen
Tammy Davis
Edna Stirling
Case Brackley-Trans-No Lip
RPI $36.95 Music David Hirschfelder

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Once Were Warriors is a kick in the guts of a film. What Becomes of the Broken Hearted is its sequel, set five years later. Is it as good? Could it be? Probably not - movies like Once Were Warriors are one-offs. This movie is different, in some interesting ways. I think it is successful at what it tries to do, but that does not include outdoing Once Were Warriors.

    Once Were Warriors was about the entire Heke family, but Beth Heke (Rene Owen) was the real focus. Beth was the person whose decisions shaped the story. This movie is not about Beth - she is happier, living with a welfare officer in middle-class conditions - we hardly see her. What Becomes of the Broken Hearted is about Jake (Temuera Morrison). It is about him confronting his problems, including realising that he has problems. It also shows him making friends, a different kind of friends. I love the scene where he meets two guys after he has a blow-out - these two burly Maoris blithely lift the back of the car to allow him to change the tyre

    The movie is divided into two strands, two threads of narrative that we follow, switching frequently - it may sound hard to follow, but it isn't. One thread follows Jake, beginning with him in the pub, almost exactly where we left him last time. The other thread follows Sonny, his son. Sonny did not appear in Once Were Warriors (I suspect he didn't exist then, although he is clearly the eldest of the family - they needed another adult member of the family). It isn't until almost the end of the film that the two threads are drawn together, with a bang. It's an unusual means of storytelling, and very effective here.

    This film is just as violent as Once Were Warriors, in fact more so in its use of firearms. It is just as uncompromising about showing people at their lowest ebb. It is not quite as raw around the edges, but it, too, will kick you in the guts.

    Do not even consider seeing this film without seeing Once Were Warriors first. If you have seen Once Were Warriors you don't have to see this film, but I strongly urge you to do so. Interestingly, the distributors agree with this assessment - you can buy Once Were Warriors separately, but What Becomes of the Broken Hearted is only available in a double pack with Once Were Warriors. What a combination! I would recommend not watching both on the same night unless you are extremely strong emotionally, or utterly insensitive - no insult intended.

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Transfer Quality


    This movie is presented in an aspect ratio that looks about 1.66:1, not 16x9 enhanced. There are thin black bars above and below the image, which are not intruded upon (unlike Once Were Warriors).

    The picture is rather sharp, with good shadow detail, even at night - in the "making of", one of the production designers comments on some of the issues of filming dark-skinned people with dark facial tattoos wearing black leather at night. There's no visible low-level noise - blacks are unadulterated black. This is a much better quality image than Once Were Warriors.

    There's not a lot of colour, but that is very definitely a design choice. Where there is colour, it shows well and is properly saturated, but much of this movie involves dull, down-trodden colours.

    Unlike Once Were Warriors, this transfer was clearly not made from a release print. I did see some film artefacts at 58:21, but they were minor. There is some minor aliasing (including guitar strings), and some noticeable moire at 24:59 on a weatherboard house. We get Gibbs effect on the credits, for completeness. But there are no other MPEG artefacts, and none of the film-to-video artefacts are objectionable. All up, this is a far cleaner transfer.

    The subtitles are on or off - lots of choice. They are in English, and appear to be intended as subtitles for the hearing impaired, because they mention the music and sound effects. Where there's a single line of subtitles they are placed in the black bar below the picture. Where there are two lines, the upper line impinges on the image, but not to a large extent. They are white with a black border, and in a clear font.

    The disc is RSDL-formatted. The layer change is at 67:10, concealed in a cut between scenes and is only noticeable because of a pause in the music.

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


    There are two soundtracks, both in English; one in Dolby Digital 5.1, and one in Dolby 2.0 surround-encoded. I listened to the 5.1 soundtrack, and sampled a little of the 2.0. The 2.0 is OK, but the 5.1 is impressive.

    Dialogue is mostly clear, but you'd have to expect the occasional unintelligible word considering the amount of gang footage. I saw no audio sync problems.

    David Hirshfelder's score is dramatic, and excellent at adding to the atmosphere. Some moody pieces concentrate on the bass register, others are quite discordant. There's a shock at the beginning of the movie where some gentle music is interrupted by a blast of sound as a train goes by. A lot of thought has clearly gone into the sound of this movie. No one is going to sleep through this.

    This is a 5.1 soundtrack. The surrounds are used effectively, but only occasionally do we get some real rear directionality - they are mostly atmospheric. The subwoofer gets plenty of work - some of the score is very bass heavy, and it sounds good. The 2.0 soundtrack does have surround encoding, but this is a chance to give your 5.1 decoder something to get its teeth into.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    The extras are quite good, although we don't get a commentary like Once Were Warriors.


    The menus are animated, with moody music. All the menus are animated, including something I haven't seen before. The scene selection menu has animation for each of the scenes you can choose (seen that before), but the sound you hear depends on which scene is selected - I don't know how they managed to achieve that.

Trailer (1:49)

    This is a short trailer. I don't know why it isn't on the Special Features menu with the other extras. Don't watch it before the movie - it gives away some things you don't want to know in advance.

Featurette - Making Of (21:49)

    This is better than average. It starts with a fair whack of footage from the movie, which isn't promising, but improves rapidly after that. We hear from the director and quite a few of the crew, plus some of the actors. There's the interesting comment that Ian Mune, although a pakeha, understands a lot of Maori culture and history. He is clearly respected.

    I rather liked hearing from the tattoo artist - he mentioned that gang members have copied all of the tattoo designs they developed for Once Were Warriors, and he fully expects them to copy the ones developed for this movie, too. He had plenty of work to do in this movie.

Music Video (3:36)

    Um, it's a music video. There's no indication of the artist, or the song, so I can't tell you anything more than that. Oh, it is presented in about 1.78:1, and the bars above and below, which are normally black, are decorated - that's a nice touch.

Photo Gallery

    There are 20 still photos in this collection.

TV ad 1 (0:32) / TV ad 2 (0:32)

    These are not identical, but cover much the same ground. Just like the trailer, they give away a bit more than you'd want to know before seeing the film.

R4 vs R1

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

    As far as we can discover, this movie is not yet released in any other region. Even the VHS tapes available at Amazon are Australian (PAL).


    What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted is a challenging movie, presented well on DVD. It makes a satisfying addition to Once Were Warriors.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is very good, more for the music than the dialogue, though.

    The extras are good.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Thursday, September 20, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDArcam DV88, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left and Right: Krix Euphonix, Centre: Krix KDX-C Rears: Krix KDX-M, Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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