Hopeville isn’t terribly well named. The population is dwindling, and those who remainappear to have precious little hope. Chief among them is Helen (Melanie Doane), who woulddo anything to leave town. One can hardly blame her, given that her boyfriend is disagreeableloser Carl (Michael Riley), who, it seems, might well be responsible for the murder of the localgrocer. The film is loaded with quirky characters, but none of them are especially likeable, andthe plot meanders …ar too much on its way to nowhere in particular. Nice scenery, though, andfans of Maritime Celtic music will be pleased by the soundtrack.
The music comes through very well, with a crisp, crystalline mix. It does, however, tend todominate. There aren’t very many surround sound effects, though when given a chance, they arebad in a low-key sort of way. But the dialogue is also sometimes sacrificed to the music. Theflash-forward scenes with the two children are particularly hard to understand.
The case boasts both wide and fullscreen versions. I tried and tried, but could find no traceof the widescreen, so points off for that. The colours in the scenes with the children areunnaturally bright, but this is a deliberate effect to signal two different time-frames (as such adevice, the effect could be stronger, as I didn’t clue in until quite late in the film). Some shotsare a bit soft and/or grainy as well.
On hand for audio commentary are director Wendy Ord and stars Doane and Riley. Theemphasis is on the technical and behind-the-scenes angles of the film, and this kind of approachis always interesting when budget was an important consideration. The other extras are a musicvideo (Doane’s “Still Desire You”) and outtakes (some of which are given titles). The menu isscored.
Not as funny as it wants to be, perhaps because of a lack of edge and pace, and hamperedby the lack of widescreen, the affection lavished on the project is nonetheless apparent, andmight well find an audience.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Music Video