Reindeer Games (2000)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Dolby Digital Trailer-Rain
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Audio Commentary-John Frankenheimer (Director)
|Year Of Production||2000|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (66:24)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||John Frankenheimer|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Clarence, III Williams
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (320Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.40:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||Yes|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
When the movie came up for review I put my hand up to give it a second look. I have found in the time that I've been watching DVDs that many movies simply look and sound superior on this medium, so it was with this mindset and not worrying overly about the plot that I sat down to review this movie. Let me say before I begin that we have been given the Director's Cut version of Reindeer Games, which has almost 20 minutes of added footage, for which Roadshow should be applauded. This version offers us the Director's original vision for the movie. What we are given, therefore, is a much tighter, harder and violent movie than the original theatrical release.
The story begins as Nick (James Frain) and Rudy (Ben Affleck), cellmates at the Iron Mountain Penitentiary are discussing their imminent release. Nick is dreaming of Ashley (Charlize Theron), with whom he has been corresponding for over six months, but never met, and whose pictures adorn his wall. Rudy has dreams of returning home, a mug of hot chocolate and some pecan pie. Things change when a prisoner starts a riot (Isaac Hayes in a minor cameo) and Nick is stabbed and killed by The Alamo (Dana Stubblefield), an inmate with a grudge against Rudy. With only two days left of their respective sentences, Rudy is devastated. After his release, Rudy spots Ashley waiting for Nick and decides to assume Nick's identity (this was one of the thinnest parts of the plot, but Charlize Theron is attractive enough to be believable).
Slowly, Ashley and Rudy develop a passionate relationship, but Ashley's brother, Gabriel (Gary Sinise) shows up with some playmates (including Clarence Williams III who really shines in this movie, Danny Trejo and Donal Logue) and have plans of their own for Nick. Whilst in prison, Nick wrote to Ashley about working in security at the Indian Springs casino and Gabriel and his boys need Nick to help them pull a heist. The biggest problem is that Rudy isn't Nick and doesn't have a clue about the security set-up at Indian Springs. He has to find a way out of his dilemma and save Ashley from her brother or he's history.
This is a slow-building movie that moves inexorably towards a climax, while laying out the reasons behind the various characters' motivations in a complex series of scenes. It doesn't just hand everything to you on a plate. It is intended that you come to your own conclusions, after which there are a couple of clever twists in the plot that are used to keep you guessing. There isn't a really weak performance from an excellent cast, but unfortunately the same cannot be said about the material they are given to work with - the movie will feel slow for those of you used to high octane action!
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.
The transfer is as sharp as you would expect with a more recently released movie, although there is some grain obvious throughout. Shadow detail suffers a bit due to the low level lighting, in part to maintain the mood. Low level noise is very minimal and hardly worth a mention. Very minor edge enhancement was noticed although the low lighting rendered most instances invisible.
The colour palette used in this movie is mostly drab and dull, and intentionally so. There is no richness of colour but it does adequately convey the feeling of cold inherent in the wintery theme of the movie.
There is some aliasing at 48:29 (on Gary Sinise's sunglasses), 51:03 (edge of table), 51:52 (on the poker machine in the background), and 64:34 (on the jukebox). There is a slight telecine wobble at 93:18, fortunately barely noticeable. There is a moiré artefact visible on a low res video monitor at 86:53.
There were several continuity errors that occurred throughout the movie. At 42:06, there is a slight glitch as Ben Affleck throws something at Charlize Theron, at 48:29, Clarence Williams' head moves unnaturally, at 51:37, Ben Affleck's head also changes position unnaturally and at 80:23 the door to the stairwell pauses slightly while closing. Considering the amount of footage edited back into the movie for this version, a few slight glitches that last all of a split-second in most cases are worth it considering the improvement they make to the overall feel of the movie.
The only subtitles on offer are English for the Hearing Impaired. In attempting to give a complete rundown of all the dialogue in the movie they are often on-screen for only a brief second making them hard to follow at times. They are accurate (from what I saw of them) and reasonably located.
The layer change occurs at 66:24, beautifully positioned between scenes and not affecting the dialogue or action at all.
There are two audio tracks on this DVD; English Dolby Digital 5.1 and English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded. I listened to the 5.1 track.
The dialogue is so crystal clear that even in the quietest of scenes, such as at 84:06, where Ashley whispers into Rudy's ear "Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, my love", clarity is excellent. With so much riding on the dialogue to develop the characters, you'd expect nothing less. The audio sync seemed to be perfect, although a lot of the time you can't clearly discern the actors' lips. There was a problem with the audio commentary from around 71:00 minutes on. There is a definite disparity in the sync that is very noticeable.
The music is by Alan Silvestri, whose list of credits is certainly impressive (Predator/Predator II/Forrest Gump to name a few). This may not be the most memorable of his efforts but he succinctly uses deep bass undertones and throbbing beats, melded with a solid score, and succeeds in creating a soundtrack that matches the action on-screen as well as the bleakness inherent in the surroundings.
The surrounds are used sparingly throughout the movie, mostly in support of the music but really coming to life during the action sequences. The shoot-out at 88:00 has shots literally flying around the room.
The subwoofer is beautifully utilized during the movie. It supplies real depth to the musical score as well as being excellently utilized during the action sequences. Considering the first hour of the movie is solidly focused on the dialogue and character development, the major use of the subwoofer is to provide a solid bass sound for the music and then to come aggressively to life as needed.
|Surround Channel Use|
This commentary had me listening intently as Frankenheimer has a reputation as a master craftsman but is totally honest about his trade.
The video quality was consistently good throughout, with the exceptions noted.
The audio quality was also very acceptable with more subwoofer activity than expected as a pleasant bonus.
The extras are a little thin, although the audio commentary is of decent value.
|DVD||Loewe Xemix 5006DD, using RGB output|
|Display||Loewe Xelos (81cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||JBL TLX16s Front Speakers, Polk Audio 3MIIs Rear Speakers, Polk Audio CS245 Centre Speaker, M&KV-75 Subwoofer|