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  • Widescreen 1.78:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Theatrical trailer

The Invisible Circus

Roadshow Entertainment/Roadshow Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 89 mins . M15+ . PAL


This film tries to delve into a complex world of stories, yet only does so with limited success. However, saying this, it is only 89 minutes in duration - the perfect length for any film. It's not too long and not too short. It has enough content to jam-pack its running time with detailed concepts and events. Some of the characters still remain mysterious at the end, and even shallow in some ways, but regardless The Invisible Circus covers a complete journey in a brief period of time.

The cinematography from Henry Braham is beautiful and looks superb. The scenery shows off the best of Europe, but there are some inconsistencies. The film is set in 1976, but sometimes it is hard to believe. The coffee scene in Paris just doesn't work as the outdoor furniture looks very modern, yet it is meant to be in the '70s. But this doesn't spoil the movie; it’s just an interesting observation.

The final scene is just magical, and leaves such an impact. The actions and brief dialogue conveys so much more than what extensive dialogue often can. It is left for personal interpretation and if you read between the lines it is so powerful when taking into account the tone of the film.

The Invisible Circus was written and directed by Adam Brooks, and is based on the novel of the same name by Jennifer Egan. The story revolves around two sisters, Faith (a wonderful Cameron Diaz) and Phoebe (Jordana Brewster), who were incredibly close as they are growing up. When their loving father dies, he leaves them both a trust which they are now able to access. Faith, being a free-spirited hippy, embarks for Europe with her boyfriend Wolf (Christopher Eccleston, the guy that doesn't say much in The Others). Phoebe, only 12 at the time, is distraught at her sister's holiday and struggles to survive. As Faith leaves, she promises to write every day. But Phoebe starts receiving fewer postcards and confusing descriptions of the great unknown. The next message from her is through a policeman in Portugal. She has been found dead on the rocks below a cliff. Now, six years later, Phoebe is 18 and she decides to follow Faith's footsteps through Europe to discover the secrets behind her sister's mysterious disappearance. But what she finds is that her sister was more than she appeared to be. Her free spirit and idea that she could change the world took her to new people who changed her views even more, and then took her one step further...


The video is presented in the widescreen ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. It is a single layered disc, so therefore, of course, there is no layer change.

Throughout the feature there are a few cases of edge enhancement which doesn't really detract from the film, it just makes the edges look incredibly sharp and unnatural.

There are some slight cases of a shimmering aliasing which occurs often in the emotionally charged scenes and detracts from the beautiful cinematography. One example is the arrival onto the Portuguese cliff where the screen is just a shimmering mess.

Throughout the film flashbacks occur. The flashbacks to the '60s with Phoebe and Faith have rich orange tones, and the flashbacks to Faith in Europe in the '70s have deep blue tones. The colours throughout the film are rich and vibrant, with the orange tones golden and bright, and the blue tones subtle and dark. The skin tones during the normal scenes are lifelike and healthy, and the European scenery looks superb. The colours during the flashbacks are, obviously, not lifelike, but they are not meant to be. Blacks are very solid and bold, with excellent shadow detail in most scenes.

There is slight film grain throughout the film, with only one or two odd film artefacts. There are also no MPEG artefacts.


There is one audio track on this disc, and it is Dolby Digital English 5.1.

The dialogue is from the front channel, with the front left and right and rear left and right channels being used discretely. The soundstage that is created sounds superb with a deep rich bass to accompany some of the more intense scenes.

The discrete channels are used very well with large amounts of front and rear left, or front and rear right panning effects. The subwoofer gets a fairly heavy workout and adds depth to the soundtrack. Dialogue is clear and audible throughout the film, which is great given this film is dialogue driven.


We are treated to very few features - these being a static menu with audio and a theatrical trailer. The trailer is presented in the aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. It runs for roughly 1:53, and features audio is Dolby Digital 2.0. It hints at the story very well, and still leaves a lot for the movie to explain.


If you are in need of an intriguing film night, then this just may be up your alley. If you are looking for a film that requires you to look further than the surface, this is definitely for you. The video transfer is very good, and the audio sounds great, yet the features are severely limited. This is a film you should get out and hire, and if you enjoy it, buy it!

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      And I quote...
    "Do you like reading between the lines? If so, read on..."
    - Martin Friedel
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Nowa DS-8318
    • TV:
          TEAC 68cm CTV
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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