DVD is better than . . .VHS. Especially for great, digital sound, and on this disc,
David Hirschfelder’s marvellous, evocative jazz-influenced score stands out as one of
the real bonuses. For another thing, DVD is the perfect home entertainment medium to
present films in their original aspect ratio, in this case 1:85. Pity then that this
release is in 4:3, because there are some key scenes where it matters that we see the
outer edges of the original frame. But the culprit is not the producers, nor the
distributor, but you, the renting public. Or at least the video store operators who
don’t like DVDs in widescreen, claiming their customers don’t like the black
frame top and bottom of their tv screen when a film is shown in widescreen.
Maybe you can do yourself and fellow renters a favour by telling your video store owner
that you DO like the black bits because between them is the film in its full, original
aspect ratio glory. Do it.
Disclaimer: As you can see from the features list, my interview with Susie Porter
(conducted in all good taste but between the sheets) is one of the main features on this
disc. Needless to say I will refrain from reviewing myself – it’s not a pretty
sight. Whatever you might think of the interview, however, the good news for renters is
that they get the fully loaded version (sans widescreen), which is not standard practice.
The film itself stands up to scrutiny at home exceptionally well, every bit as
immediate, entertaining and fresh as the big screen version, even if the experience is
clearly very different. Suggest you watch it with someone with whom you are on intimate
good terms, a glass of wine or a beer at hand - and make a hedonistic evening of it. It is
really fun, as well as poignant and observant and a little bit different.
Andrew L. Urban
Published March 29, 2001