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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer ( )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • English: Dolby Digital Surround
  Subtitles
    English
  Extras
  • Theatrical trailer
  • 3 Audio commentary
  • Cast/crew biographies
  • 4 Featurette
  • Photo gallery
  • Animated menus
  • Web access
  • Outtakes
  • Recipe

Dirty Deeds

Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 94 mins . MA15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

A bit of bloody shush, alright?

You see, apparently in Sydney in the late ‘60s a few types who weren't so concerned with abiding the law had a nice little earner going running the poker machine trade. Word of this little racket made its way to the US of A, in particular to the mafia, and they decided it was their right to get their piece of the action. Or so the story goes.

It’s this tale that attracted director/writer David Caesar to the idea of penning Dirty Deeds, and the above is a nicely succinct little summation of all that goes on within it. Barry (Bryan Brown) is the kingpin of the racket, although he has competition in the form of one Freddy. But hey, that’s what Holden chases and a gunshots are for, right? It’s when mob envoy Tony (John Goodman) and his cohort Sal (Felix Williamson) wing it to Australia to stick their fingers firmly in the pie - complete with their electronic prototype pokie in tow - that things really start to get interesting.

Honing in on Barry like flies to shit, everything seems quite chummy – you know, good old Aussie mateship and all that. There are parties in their honour, dinner invites and the like – and then the shooting trip. A hop and a skip in a light plane and our Yankee visitors are living the outback experience, and things don’t necessarily go the way all had hoped.

Add to the mix Bazza’s nephew Darcy (Sam Worthington), fresh back from Vietnam where he basically learned how to shoot people and blow shit up (and he’s a bloody natural at it), Bazza’s not-so-faithful mistress Margaret (Kestie Morassi), his smarter than she’s given credit for, take no shit wife in Sharon (Toni Collette) and a somewhat crooked cop (Sam Neill) and you’ve a recipe for double crossing and double dealing that’s more convoluted than one for this new-fangled pizza pie concoction.

Turning in a great line of comedy played straight, Dirty Deeds isn’t a million miles removed from the type of stuff Mr Madonna made his name for – the likes of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. And sadly it seems that on release the majority of critics were too busy climbing about up their arses culturally cringing to simply sit back and enjoy what is basically just a great fun, locally-spun yarn. Replete with a remarkable number of shooters and more colourful language than you’ll hear in a roomful of utter klutzes with hammers, it may not be art as such, and it certainly isn’t “worthy” like most any AFI winner you could name from the past ten years, but it’s a great way to kill off an hour and a half, complete with some fabulous performances. Bryan Brown does what he does best, his superb 2D ocker knockabout type thing, the always amazing Toni Collette takes what is actually a fairly small role and stamps her presence all over the film and US import John Goodman is at his loveable rogue best. Combine all this with some refreshingly stylish, but not over-flashy direction from Caesar, and some simply incredible production design – every cringe-worthy shade of green, orange and brown you thought was just a bad, drug-induced dream is here to prove it really existed (and often all on the one object), and stuff it, Dirty Deeds is simply good down and dirty fun.

  Video
Contract

Hey, this here fillum looks pretty smick-o mate! It comes to us at home in the cinema-same ratio of 2.35:1, is naturally 16:9 enhanced, and basically there’s very little to fault with it. The colour palette is probably the most noticeable thing, bursting to full-on Colour My World ‘60s-styled life when dealing with the many and varied, and usually questionable, fashions of the time that are featured, and handling the many shades of brown, tan, toast, cack, ochre etc the outback scenes throw up with just as much aplomb.

It’s all fabulously detailed whether scenes are in the light or in the dark, and the print is basically entirely blemish-free. There are one or two infinitesimal examples of aliasing which the more finicky may briefly pick up, but otherwise the only annoyance some will find is with the ham-fisted placement of the layer change, chucked willy-nilly in the midst of a scene when if they’d been able to hold their horses for a minute or so there was a nice clean scene change to plonk it in. Drongos!

  Audio
Contract

Stone the crows, turn the bloody thing up will ya?! Jeez Louise, turn it down ya flamin’ mug!

Now that you’re all scratching your heads (well, hopefully your heads), the above dialogue should probably be explained. Whilst a fab Dolby Digital 5.1 is included, it suffers from one thing – what I like to call “Nirvana Syndrome”, whereby the quiet bits are decidedly quiet, and the loud bits pretty much rip your bloody ears off. This over-eager dynamicism is a little disappointing, as otherwise the track makes wonderful use of the entire six speakers it’s given to play with, the subwoofwoof getting down and dirty when called upon, and the rears bursting into life for everything from car chases to the many gunshots to boofing out the music, as well as some great atmospheric work. It’s all synched perfectly, but keep in mind that it just may not be the best flick to watch late at night – unless you really hate your neighbours, of course. There’s also a Dolby Digital stereo mix included, it’s less dependent upon volume riding, but offers little of the sonic fun that the 5.1 mix does.

The soundtrack’s an interesting one. As well as Paul Healy’s original creations, a great mix of classic Aussie stuff is featured, including Acca Dacca’s awesome song they ripped the title from (even though it didn’t come out ‘til around 1975...), as well as the likes of Daddy Cool, The Loved Ones and even Bazza McKenzie – or Borry Cracker, umm, OK – Barry Crocker. These knock knees with more up-to-date stuff from the likes of Grinspoon, Powderfinger’s Bernard Fanning, Thorpy (not the big-footed swimmy one, duh), Lisa Miller and You Am I, Tim Rogers from the latter actually supervising the whole “pop” soundtrack project and penning a lot of the songs. The only real let down is a simply insulting cover of Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap by Tim’s mob with Tex Perkins on vocals. It’s downright bloody criminally awful, and if Bon were alive today I’m sure he’d belt the living shit out of Tex - although he’d have to jump up and down a bit as the guy is about seven foot tall.

  Extras
Contract

As well as quite bonza little menu transitions, there’s a nice little payoff in the extras department, all of which are presented in a fairly groovy one-armed bandit style...

Audio Commentaries: Not one, not two, but three commentaries are included. The first gives us director David Caesar teamed with producers (and one actor, natch) Bryan Brown and Deborah Balderstone, and tends to concentrate for the most part more on the casting and location side of things. For a more technical look at the film, the second track, featuring Caesar again, this time teamed with director of photography Geoffrey Hall, proves quite the disarming and intelligent little listen. The final entry is based around the music score, whereby he who looked after it, Paul Healy, pipes up when his works, well, pipe up. As this is riddled with massive silent passages, a great option is supplied allowing jumps to each individual musical piece.

Gallery: 36 snaps to fiddle fart about with, mainly featuring stills, but with a decent sprinkling of posed on-the-set photos as well.

Cast: Bryan Brown, Toni Collette, John Goodman and Sam Neill all get the hit and miss treatment here, with anything from four to seven pages of edited history. The fact that Sam Neill’s mentions the execrable mush that was Bicentennial Man, yet entirely ignores the existence of The Dish, should give you an idea how worthless these are – I tell you whoever wrote them was fair dinkum un-Australian!

Trailer (2:17): Presented in un-enhanced, near enough to 1.85:1 without getting the old measuring stick out and getting sticky with it, this is an action-packed trailer which does the film proud.

Featurette - Baz (3:58): Actually plucked from The Today Show and in lovely anamorphic 1.78:1 widescreen, this is an interview some may remember whereby Richard Wilkins gets deserved short shrift from Bryan Brown after using the words “type” and “cast” (even though it’s really one word – ah, what do you think I am, a bloody Oxford scholar?!).

Featurette - Shaz (3:38): The Channel Nine connection serves further usefulness, with this brief plucking from the increasingly more pompous 60 Minutes. Charles Woolley interviews Toni Collette briefly, with a bit of BB action as well.

Documentary - Get Dirty (25:19): A series of interviews with the director, most all of the main cast members and co-producer Deborah Balderstone, and interspersed with the odd bit of B-roll footage, this is an OK watch, although it does have a tendency to head towards love-in, "everybody’s ace" territory.

B-roll footage (7:37): A whole heap of footage from various scenes presented in full frame, offering a sometimes interesting, sometimes boring look behind the scenes. Some of it showed up in the ‘making of’ documentary.

Website: A solitary static page with a website address. Bonza.

Featurette - Music (9:22): Well, this will piss off those dickheads who freak at “those annoying black bars”, for they’ll have to contend with annoying orange ones instead! Presenting interviews with Caesar, Tim Rogers and the other two from You Am I, naturally enough this looks into the process behind constructing Dirty Deeds’ soundtrack, along with the intriguing quote that they did “not want to f*ck with” AC/DC’s original version of the title song. But sadly they did anyway.

Soundtrack: A simple motion-free page featuring the soundtrack CD. Corker.

Pizza: Sam Worthington’s recipe for the rather yummy sounding ‘Pink Eye’ pizza, scattered across enough pages that it actually makes sense.

...oh, and you may get a fun little shock upon popping the disc in the player, in what is a brief but amusing little inclusion.

  Overall  
Contract

Possibly one of the most extras-stacked local releases yet, complete with superb video and audio that’s only slightly marred by somewhat hyperactive dynamics, struth, corker, by crikey and any other Aussie cliché you can think of, Dirty Deeds is more mindless fun than a bloody pig shoot with a slab of coldies. Darl.


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=2240
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      And I quote...
    "Good down and dirty fun..."
    - Amy Flower
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Pioneer DV-535
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Onkyo TX-DS494
    • Speakers:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse RBS662
    • Centre Speaker:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECC442
    • Surrounds:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECR042
    • Subwoofer:
          DTX Digital 4.8
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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