Lost Souls (2000)

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Released 23-Oct-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Audio & Animation
Dolby Digital Trailer-Temple
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Audio Commentary-Janusz Kaminski (Director) & Mauro Fiori (Cinematographer)
Deleted Scenes-10
Theatrical Trailer
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
dts Trailer-Experience
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 93:53
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (62:05) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Janusz Kaminski
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Winona Ryder
Ben Chaplin
Philip Baker Hall
Elias Koteas
Sarah Wynter
John Hurt
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $34.95 Music Jan A. Kaczmarek


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Lost Souls is an attempt to recreate the psychological thrillers of yore, ie. horror minus today's gore. Maya (Winona Ryder) has been possessed and has the demon exorcised from her at the beginning of the movie, so she knows what's what with the Devil. She discovers that the famous author, Peter Kelson (Ben Chaplin), is next on the list to be host to Satan himself, and she is determined that he finds out and does not let it happen.

    Director Janusz Kaminski shows great promise with this, his debut film. The pace is slower than we are used to, scenes are slower to play out, and there is little in the way of sudden frights. Whilst it is not going to be remembered as a classic, it is certainly something different and will appeal to those who enjoy a decent, well produced and slick thriller. Winona Ryder is more gorgeous than ever, and her acting is as wooden and stilted as usual - which does tend to work for this role. It is always a pleasure to see John Hurt, albeit only briefly as a troubled priest, and Ben Chaplin puts in a very balanced and thoughtful performance.

    Even if it does not make your list for purchase, it will make for a superb rent on a Saturday night.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The movie is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    This transfer is amongst the very best Roadshow have produced. Incredibly sharp and detailed throughout, the image is always a pleasure to behold, never faltering for even a moment. There is a great deal of grain at almost all times, though this is as intended and fits the feel of the movie particularly well, making the film seem a little strange and different.

    As is becoming quite popular of late, the movie was filmed using a "bleach bypass" technique which results in a very strange "otherworldy" colour palette. There are no bold colours whatsoever, with the movie having a general warm sepia look to it most of the time. Now and then, some colours would make it through the process, but on the whole tones were washed out and dull. I cannot say I am a big fan of this trend, however I do find it interesting now and then, and it seems put to good use in this case. Shadow detail did seem to suffer slightly from this processing, with blacks never being truly deep but somewhat greyish, with slight detail being lost in the shadows.

    It has been my experience that most Roadshow discs exhibit MPEG artefacting to one degree or another. I can happily say that this disc was without artefact of any kind, and was a rock-solid presentation in the same manner as The Matrix - that is, utterly perfect. There was not a single film or film-to-video artefact in the traditional sense, with no aliasing, shimmering or edge enhancement at all. I did notice, however, that on a regular basis the image would skip a frame every few minutes, which seemed a little odd. I do not know if this was intentional, however the audio never suffered the problem.

    A sampling of the English subtitle stream revealed it to be very faithful to the dialogue.

    The disc is RSDL formatted, with the layer change occurring between Chapters 13 and 14 at 62:05. It was very noticeable, but nonetheless was well-placed between scenes.

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

Audio

    There are four soundtracks present on this DVD, all in English; good old Dolby Digital 2.0, Dolby Digital 5.1 (at the lower data rate of 384Kb/s), an English Audio Commentary and a cracking DTS mix. I listened mainly to the DTS mix, and sampled the 2.0 and DD 5.1 tracks intermittently.

    Dialogue was utterly superb, being crystal clear and very easy to understand - though Winona Ryder does mumble from time to time. Apart from a scene with obvious looping, spatial integration was very precise and effective. There were no issues with audio sync.

    The score is quite nice, being very spacious, warm and somewhat understated. The dts soundtrack had perhaps a slight edge in terms of perceived channel separation and detail, though both 5.1 tracks are superb. The Dolby Digital 2.0 track is a severe compromise, being neither spacious nor enveloping.

    The surround channels were used almost continuously, offering a nice sonic atmosphere and plenty of discrete effects, the score often filling the room.

    The subwoofer was somewhat under-utilised for my liking in this genre. It did pipe up now and then, and was effective at those times, but was generally inactive.

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

Extras

Main Menu Audio & Animation

Dolby Digital Trailer

Scene Selection Animation & Audio

Audio Commentary

    I was at first panicky when I listened to this, since the director and cinematographer were fading in and out on top of each other during the opening credits. Thankfully, it settles and gets down to a decent if somewhat self-indulgent rambling, mainly from director Janusz Kaminski. He generally talks about the meaning behind the actions of the characters, the story, life and death, good and bad and is very philosophical, open and casual, almost as if he were speaking to you directly. It is interesting to note that he does not believe in true evil, nor Satan. He does raise some interesting points about the trend in Hollywood movies and the general downturn in quality film-making. I agree with him that the seventies were the golden era of real film making, and those days are lost forever. Worth a listen.

Deleted Scenes

    10 scenes, all presented in 2.35:1 and 16x9 enhanced, with the option of a commentary.

Theatrical Trailer

    This is a superb trailer, in 1.78:1 and 16x9 enhanced, and in Dolby Digital 5.1. Of immaculate quality, quite rare in trailers.

Filmographies-Cast & Crew

dts Trailer

R4 vs R1

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

    The R4 version misses out on:

    Both versions appear identical in the video department, and with DTS on both versions the lower Dolby Digital track is not too much of a concern. The DVD ROM material seems to be quite simple for the R1 release, so it really comes down to your PAL vs NTSC preference.

Summary

    Lost Souls is an interesting if somewhat shallow movie, with little to offer other than a different style. The presence of Winona Ryder for me makes it all worthwhile. Excellent video, superb audio and good extras make this certainly a disc to check out.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Paul Cordingley (bio)
Friday, October 05, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba SD-900E, using RGB output
DisplayPioneer SD-T43W1 16:9 RPTV. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony STR DB-930
SpeakersFront & Rears: B&W DM603 S2, Centre: B&W LCR6, Sub: B&W ASW500

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