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  • Hard Word, The

    Posted in: Disc Reviews by David Annandale on September 25th, 2003

    Overall
    Film
    Video
    Audio
    Extras
    (out of 5)

    

    Synopsis

    Guy Pearce leads a gang of three bank-robber brothers. They’re very good at what they do,and they take great pride in the fact that no one has ever been hurt during one of their jobs.Released from prison, they stage another heist in partnership with their lawyer and some crookedcops. What they don’t know is that their lawyer is sleeping with Pearce’s wife (the incendiaryRachel Griffiths), and he has them sent back to prison, only to spring them once again for aneven bigger …ob. By this point, Pearce and company are as suspicious as they are resentful.The Hard Word is consistently entertaining, but uneven. Its plot becomes increasinglyloose in the last act, frittering away much good will as it does so. The cast is in fine form, though,and keeps interest high.

    Audio

    David Thrussell’s grungy, chunky score burst out of the speakers with fine energy in this 5.1mix. The dialogue is crisp and clear too, even if it is often incomprehensible. The reason for thisis that the brothers frequently speak in a backwards slang, and not even the subtitles will alwayshelp you decipher what they’re on about. The environmental effects are great, with excellent left,right and rear placement of the sound effects.

    Video

    The picture is sharp, with very bright colours, good flesh tones, and fine contrasts. There isminimal grain (though there is some visible in red-tinted night scenes). The colours do run intotrouble with bright oranges, which shudder somewhat. About 65 minutes in, the picture issuddenly hit with a strobing flicker that lasts for about a second.

    Special Features

    Writer/director Scott Roberts provides the commentary. Though informative, his talk doesrely too heavily on pointing out the obvious. The superb music score is granted an isolated track,and Thrussell’s opening credits music has its own cool video as well. The behind-the-scenesfeature is your usual promotional thing. The cast and crew bios are more detailed than most, andinclude complete filmographies. The reverse Butcher Talk is explained in a “Meatierology” essay(though I still can’t figure out the final example — maybe I’m just thick). The climactic chasescene is shown in tandem with its storyboards, and there’s the theatrical trailer. Not a bad bunchof extras. The menu’s main page, intro and transitions are scored and animated, while the SpecialFeatures page is scored.

    Closing Thoughts

    The movie is a bit frustrating, in that it showed many signs of being better than it finallyturned out to be. The complete package isn’t bad at all, however, especially given that this wasn’ta major release in North America.

    Special Features List

    • Director’s Commentary
    • Isolated Music Score
    • Behind-the-Scenes Featurette
    • Cast and Crew Bios
    • Butcher Talk Explained
    • Storyboard-to-Screen Feature
    • David Thrussell Music Video
    • Theatrical Trailer
    Posted In: 2.35:1 Widescreen, Disc Reviews, Dolby Digital 5.1 (English), DVD, Lionsgate / Maple Pictures, Suspense / Thriller

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