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  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer ( )
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
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    Passed Away

    Buena Vista/Buena Vista . R4 . COLOR . 93 mins . M15+ . PAL


    If this DVD were on the shelves come Christmas time, it is fairly easy enough to assume they would label it a ‘stocking filler’. It’s a pedestrian affair with little to recommend it and while it does have its moments of an odd chuckle or two, it seems a little wooden and contrived all up with a host of clichés thrown in for good measure.

    We focus on one family of four siblings whose father has just am(chuckle)usingly passed away (that means ‘died’ to anyone born after 1985). In the course of his wake, done in an Irish style for the first ten minutes before decaying into the usual family shitfight, many facts about Dad will come to light with hil(chuckle)arious results. Old rivalries, new atrocities, poor character creation and even poorer delivery (mostly from William Petersen, Mr. C.S.I. himself; cue The Who music) stretch this film into its uncomfortable 93 minutes.

    "No one changes at the beginning, and at the end it’s too late!"

    The only real thrill of the whole sordid thing is in seeing Frances McDormand appear as a nun with a social conscience who smuggles a South American into the wake and past immigration officials who are looking for him. You’ll ne(chuckle)ver guess where they hide him. A-hoo-hoo-hoo. Huurgh.

    While the film boasts a massive ensemble cast, none of them have much to work with and all seem to play roles in which they are most comfortable. Pamela Reed plays a jaded divorcée. Tim Curry plays her wicked ex-husband. Bob Hoskins plays an inept tree-lopper who is in lust with Nancy Travis, the mystery woman whom no-one knows. William Petersen plays a wooden mannequin brought to life by some sort of hoodoo magic or jungle witchery. And so on.

    It’s dreary, it’s a long time between laughs and when they arrive they aren’t anything we’ve not really seen before. And it’s a bit sappy toward the end, not to mention the quite predictable ending. When you introduce a heavily pregnant character, we all know what’s going to happen, don’t we?

    A computer-animated stork will drop off a stunt doll in a nappy.


    Mostly this transfer is a doozie. Buena Vista have remained true to form and produced a clean edged, well-saturated colour palette without any major artefacts to clog up the images. In fact, the image is so good that when Bob Hoskins gets struck by a mop handle, it is patently obvious it is mop of rubber. Damn actors are pussies!

    Flesh tones are good, shadow detail is good and blacks are true. The film is delivered in the aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and has some special kind of anamorphic enhancement that makes it fit snugly into widescreen tellies. Like that matters here.


    Dialogue here is delivered cleanly and is easily understood, but gets a bit low at times. Whether this is accident or design is hard to say, but it meant cranking the volume up pretty high once or twice. The background noise of the crowd seems to fill the film very nicely, and as the wake in which most of the crowd noise is goes on for most of the film, the surrounds are kept busy. The subwoofer gets in on the action occasionally, but doesn’t do much really.

    Music here is fine and suits the piece, albeit from the larger proportion of tracks used or the understated score. A highlight, if such a thing exists here, is in a priest doing a version of a Cole Porter song You’re the Top. It is possibly the best written thing in the film.


    Not a scratch here. Nobody attended the extras' funeral either. How sad.


    An overall uninspiring film that doesn’t really have all that much going for it. Frances McDormand, Oscar winner that she is, doesn’t even breathe any life into this dying movie. The lack of extras really decreases the value too, although the transfer is a pretty clean and well-completed affair. Perhaps one for the fans of any of the numerous stars, but for the inquisitive there won’t be much by way of reward.

  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=3706
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      And I quote...
    "Everyone dies alone, really."
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Teac DVD-990
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Subwoofer:
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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