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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.78:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • German: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English, French, German, Czech, Greek, Polish, Hungarian, Dutch, English - Hearing Impaired
  Extras

    Sniper - 23 Days of Fear in Washington D.C.

    Universal/Universal . R4 . COLOR . 86 mins . M15+ . PAL

      Feature
    Contract

    Donít you love the way Hollywood is so fast to snap up rights to recent tragic events to make money out of?

    This made for television film details the events of 23 days in late 2002 when a duo of sniper serial killers began indiscriminately hunting down regular folks just going about their business in Washington DC. Told in a fairly subdued manner that doesnít (exactly) focus on the sensationalism of the events, but rather concentrates on the human faces behind the newscasts, this is actually not too bad a film.

    Performances are quite reserved here, again not attempting to sensationalise the events of October 2nd to 25th 2002 when a pair of men (one much older, the other a young, impressionable teenager) shot average people for no reason other than holding the police to ransom for ten million dollars. The tracking of the criminals and the breaks in the case are covered well, as is the policeís helplessness and incorrect leads which delayed the catching of the perpetrators.

    There are even hints at the fear the nation was still living under while September 11 was still a rather fresh memory (with that atrocity having just had its first anniversary). People giving false information of Middle Eastern men speeding away from the scene and so on.

    There is much here that the news coverage didnít get to and while some stuff is obviously made up or augmented to make the story more intense, there is this overall feeling of a played down incident, rather than a sensationalised over-the-top exposť on the killers. Itís definitely worth a look, if only to learn a little more of the events of that time.

      Video
    Contract

    Made last year (2003) this looks fairly nice, of course. Made for TV in the widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 with anamorphic enhancement, the picture quality is sharp and colours are satisfyingly even. Blacks are true and shadow detail is quite good considering there are quite a few night shots. Flesh tones are natural and there are some truly interesting camera angles that add to the overall bizarre nature of the crimes. A fairly impressive visual transfer with nothing to really fault it.

      Audio
    Contract

    Here we get a nice Dolby Digital 5.1 surround delivery that doesnít exactly make full use of the surrounds, but it does add some urgency to the actual sniping scenes with voices and confused crowd noise coming from various places in the room.

    Sound effects are okay, with gunfire actually downplayed a little at times. At others itís quite strong, although sound levels are even and well-balanced. Music here has been scored by Mark Snow, the werewolf who worked so long on scoring the The X-Files. Here he brings his particular brand of creepiness to the table and this truly works to intensify the strange nature of the scenario.

      Extras
    Contract

    Sorry, folks, nothing to see here. Showís over. Move along please.

      Overall  
    Contract

    While suffering the fate of Hollywood pinching real stories and tweaking them a little, this hasnít suffered it too badly. Not much about the perpetrators is glamourised (if any) and the whole shockingly horrible event is dealt with more solemnly than sensationally, which does come as a refreshing surprise, I gotta say.

    Iím not sure how keen anyone would be to own the film, but I would recommend renting this one out as a fairly impressive top-of-the-line, B-grade film.


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=3949
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      And I quote...
    "A surprisingly good, sensationalism-free (mostly) telling of the events of October 2002 when a duo of snipers terrorised Washington..."
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Teac DVD-990
    • TV:
          AKAI CT-T29S32S 68cm
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Subwoofer:
          Akai
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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