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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL 68.38)
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English - Hearing Impaired
  Extras
  • Deleted scenes
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Interviews

Born Romantic (Rental)

BBC Films/20th Century Fox . R4 . COLOR . 92 mins . M . PAL

  Feature
Contract

While there’s no such thing as a quintessential style of British film, anyone who’s spent time with cinematic exports from that country will be well familiar with something the Brits do better than anyone else - namely, taking a group of quirky, flawed and miserable characters living unconventional lives and proceeding to endear them to the audience (and, needless to say, to each other) over the course of 90 minutes or so, having them finish up triumphing over something or other. In the case of Born Romantic, it’s good old romance that needs to be conquered, and as you’d expect, along the way we get to know - and hopefully grow to like - the people doing the conquering. There’s nothing unusual about the concept, of course - indeed, Cameron Crowe’s Singles takes a similar approach to a similar subject - but there’s a particular humour and pathos in the way it’s done here that’s quite unique to its country of origin.

There are three main stories here, interconnected by two common factors - a cab driver who seems to have the only working taxi in town (and his cabbie friends, who talk more than they drive) and a dance club that specialises in salsa music (!). Around this world roam petty thief Eddie (Jimi Mistry) who’s fallen for grave-arranger (!) Jocelyn (Catherine McCormack, best known here for her role in Braveheart), broke and divorced jazz club manager Frankie (Craig Ferguson) who’s chasing the completely disinterested Eleanor (Olivia Williams, leaving The Postman far behind her!) and failed musician Fergus (David Morrissey) who is trying to find the woman he foolishly dumped years ago, Mo (Jane Horrocks).

In other words, it’s a soap opera, though one done with plenty of humour and very little melodrama; the cast is uniformly excellent, and while it takes some time to get to know the characters - perhaps a bit longer than it should for such a short film - the fact that they’re all decidedly unique and unconventional people works well. There’s no real emotional impact here - that doesn’t appear to have been the intention - but it’s a satisfying watch even if you do know all along how it’s going to turn out...

  Video
Contract

Presented at its theatrical 1.85:1 aspect ratio and 16:9 enhanced, Born Romantic looks terrific on DVD. The source film is as clean and problem-free as you’d expect for a recent production, and it’s been given a bright, vibrant video transfer that puts a lot of emphasis on warm colours and light in keeping with the subject matter. There’s detail to spare here, and a fairly hefty encoding bitrate’s been used to help preserve that. An excellent modern video transfer all round.

Though there are minimal extras and the feature itself is quite short, a dual-layered disc has been used (with plenty of free space left over); the layer change appears late in the film and is well handled.

  Audio
Contract

The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack here is not quite as good as the picture it accompanies; this is a dialogue-driven film, and on more than one occasion the dialogue seems a bit too hard to make out, either mixed too low overall or, more frequently, just not recorded cleanly enough to make deciphering the occasionally thick accents an easy task (fortunately, subtitles are available if you get stuck!). The front-focussed audio here springs to full surround life mainly in the salsa club scenes, where the rears are used for added ambience; while it all sounds fine, it’s not quite up there with the current state of the art. Still, it’s a soundtrack that serves its purpose well enough.

  Extras
Contract

There are a handful of extra features on this rental-only disc, which will almost certainly become a sell-through disc with exactly the same features in the distant future.

Theatrical Trailer: The theatrical trailer (surprise!). 4:3 open-matte with fairly good picture quality and mono sound.

Deleted Scenes: Just over six and a half minutes of scenes removed from the final cut, all presented letterboxed in a 4:3 frame with good picture quality and mono sound. There is a set of scenes here featuring Olivia Williams’ character that would have been far better left in the film, as they add resonance to the end of her story.

Interviews: About 24 minutes’ worth of raw interview footage with Jane Horrocks, Olivia Williams, Craig Ferguson, Catherine McCormack, David Morrissey and writer-director David Kane, all full-frame with mono sound and an unseen female interviewer who seems inordinately fond of agreeing - “sure”, “yeah”, “definitely”, “absolutely” - with everything everyone says!

  Overall  
Contract

A fun, innocuous and very human ensemble comedy, Born Romantic won’t change your perception of cinema, nor will it wow you with natty visuals or make your house levitate with in-your-face action sequences. It will, however, give you a very pleasant hour and a half in front of the telly watching some fine actors play characters that, for once, are as individual as actual people are.


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      And I quote...
    "A fun, innocuous and very human ensemble comedy"
    - Anthony Horan
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-NS300
    • TV:
          Panasonic - The One
    • Receiver:
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    • Speakers:
          Klipsch Tangent 500
    • Centre Speaker:
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    • Surrounds:
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    • Audio Cables:
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    • Video Cables:
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