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  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • Dual Layer (RSDL )
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • German: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Italian: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
    English, French, Spanish, Polish, Dutch, Portuguese, English - Hearing Impaired, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, German - Hearing Impaired
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Booklet

Rob Roy

Simitar/Simitar . R4 . COLOR . 133 mins . M15+ . NTSC


Danger! Widescreen epics!

You've got to be careful with any film set in a desert, the Australian high country or the Scottish highlands, because there's always the danger of the scenery overpowering the characters and stretching a 90 minute film into a three-hour-plus epic. Lawrence of Arabia, anybody?

'True story' Rob Roy threatens to fall into the trap on occasion, but generally keeps the focus where it's important, on the story and characters. The plot is decent, but the characters are the star.

Liam Neeson plays Rob Roy McGregor, a clan leader who borrows money from the local Marquis (John Hurt) to buy cattle, sell them at a profit and keep his clan fed. Unfortunately, the Marquis' lackey, Archibald Cunningham, discovers the deal and interferes. The money never shows up, the Marquis is determined to take McGregor's land as payment, and McGregor is forced to become an outlaw.

Acting is very good all round. Tim Roth is brilliantly vile as Archibald Cunningham, the fop with a despicable mind and a frightening talent with a rapier. Jessica Lange also shines as Mary McGregor, who is violated by Cunningham, keeping it secret from Rob who would otherwise confront Cunningham and the Marquis' troops.


For a non-anamorphic transfer, this disc looks pretty good. Another of MGM's French-mastered discs, Rob Roy exhibits natural colour, deep blacks and good shadow detail. There are some minor film artifacts, but nothing to be concerned about, and no obvious MPEG artifacting either.

I noticed some edge enhancing during some scenes, an attempt to add detail to the image which is slightly softer than a reference transfer. Despite these minor flaws, the picture is pleasing and shouldn't disappoint. The layer change is slightly jarring though.


This is a quality mix, with good fidelity, an expansive, well-recorded score and a sensibly restrained approach to the surround channels. The soundtrack wraps around you with delicate discretion, and it's only occasionally that an aggressive element, such as a musket fired from behind your right shoulder, draws your attention.

I picked up hiss during some scenes, but it's at a low level and I'm sure many wouldn't notice it without listening very critically.


A simple booklet and a 2.35:1 widescreen trailer.


On release this film was pretty much doomed to be compared to Braveheart, and couldn't match Mel Gibson's box office drawing power, but I actually think it's the superior of the two films (despite the crappy cover image which portrays Rob Roy as a twin musket-wielding gunfighter rather than holding the broadsword he favours). While Braveheart has some technically superb fight sequences, I found the characterisations lightweight and the film overlong. I found Rob Roy to have a lot more emotional resonance, and while Liam Neeson isn't Scottish, he's certainly closer than Mel Gibson!

One thing that should be mentioned: Apparently the R1 disc is anamorphically enhanced, which would give it the edge over the R4 disc.

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      And I quote...
    - Paul Dossett
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Rom:
          Pioneer 103(s)
    • MPEG Card:
          RealMagic Hollywood Plus
    • TV:
          Mitsubishi Diva 33
    • Amplifier:
          Yamaha DSP-A1
    • Speakers:
          Richter Excalibur
    • Centre Speaker:
          Richter Unicorn
    • Surrounds:
          Richter Hydras
    • Audio Cables:
          Monster RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Monster s-video
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