4 Teaser trailer - Facing Windows, I'm With Lucy, The Best Man's Wedding, Japanese Story
Plots With a View (Rental)
20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment .
R4 . COLOR . 94 mins .
M15+ . PAL
Ah, unknown love. What would you do if you loved someone who was married? Well if you watch The Jerry Springer Show your answer would involve infidelity. Either that or you do nothing about it. Well how’s this then – “oh I love you so much, let us be together... let us fake your death”. Yeah, you can see that one going down well.
Only the British can get away with a concept like this. Plots with a View is the finished product - a devilishly dark comedy with an all-star cast and a creative storyline that puts the life back into the afterlife. Admittedly, the ending does go a little wacky on us and is quite out of touch with the rest of the film, but still, if it makes you laugh, why not?
In loving memory of Betty Rhys Jones
Boris Plots, of Plots Funeral Homes, has always loved Betty. Betty and dancing. Yet before he could make his move, she was swept away by Hugh Rhys-Jones, and his love has remained unknown for 30 years. But Hugh’s mother has just passed away, with Betty organising the funeral as her husband Hugh is rather busy as a counsellor in this quaint welsh town of Wrottin Powys, population 7511. No, wait, 7510. 7509. Ooh that’s not good. But how convenient, the two get to spend a little bit of time with each other, and Boris’ true feelings get known. But Betty can’t leave Hugh for another man, she can’t disrespect his name and his position in the town, even though he is having an affair with a luscious beauty of his own, Meredith, played by Naomi Watts. But she can, however, leave Hugh and go into the next life. Or so everyone else thinks. Boris and Betty concoct this killer plan to fake her own death and leave this sleepy town once and for all. All the minute plans are covered, capturing every miniscule detail. So at a party atop a cliff, Boris and Betty start the dance of death, and in the heat of the moment, she “accidentally” slips, and falls over the edge. However, at the crash site, duelling funeral director, Frank Featherbed of, Featherbed Funerals, puts his hand in to deal with the mayor’s hardest of times. Boris still manages to squeeze in as the funeral director, but Frank is suspicious of something, such as how a crash-mangled body can appear scarless. Whilst at her own funeral, and Hugh is saying his final words, Betty finds his dirty secret, and is angered by his infidelity, but she has a plan of her own now, one that will show some of that “real” life in the afterlife.
Plots With a View, distributed through Palace Films, received a very limited theatrical release, with the so-called “brand new” print used at the cinema where yours truly works suffering from a fairly soft focus and ghastly horizontal scratches. However, now transferred from a much nicer source print, Plots comes to us on DVD, preserving the 2.35:1 widescreen aspect with anamorphic enhancement, and a vast improvement from the theatrical print. The image is consistently sharp, scratch free and boasting clear definition, even for the misty Welsh environment. Film artefacts are nearly nonexistent, and there are no unsightly visual nasties or imperfections worth whinging about. Being a single sided disc, there is no layer change to contend with, and subtitles are readable and accurate enough for the dialogue.
You can't bury this woman - I'll do my Doc Ock trick on you!
The sole Dolby Digital 5.1 English soundtrack is all we are offered in the audio department, but it is fitting for the genre of the film and, whilst not a brilliant example of a 5.1 soundtrack, is highly serviceable. Dialogue is directed from the centre channel, perfectly in synch and easy to understand after you’ve picked up the accent. Effects are well-dubbed and well-suited to the subtleties of the film, yet don’t offer us the most active 5.1-ness. Surround action is limited to the odd scrap of ambience and a discrete effect every now and then, but generally these lie rather dormant. The subwoofer, while ultimately not required, is healthy, providing a solid bass track to the film, and really taking off in the finale to the film where a spookier theme is required.
Let me get this straight - you love me, but you want to kill me?
20th Century Fox have given us a few extras to peruse, all accessible from the gently animated 16:9 menus, and starting with a fairly straightforward 2:09 theatrical trailer, presented in a letterboxed widescreen aspect with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. Next up is a rather measly photo gallery of 13 snaps, most of which are of promotional-style origins, and some not really that flattering. Accompanying these are some simple filmographies for Brenda Blethyn (two pages), Alfred Molina (three), Christopher Walken (three), Robert Pugh (two), Naomi Watts (three) and Lee Evans (one), listing a fairly well-structured list of the actor’s previous commitments, and even recent films such as Molina in Spider-Man 2. Lastly is the propaganda material from Palace called More From Palace Films, including trailers for Facing Windows (1:50), The Best Man’s Wedding (1:01), I’m With Lucy (1:35) and Japanese Story (2:21). For a comedy, one could expect more, such as bloopers or deleted scenes, yet sadly there has been no delivery on these features.
Plots with a View is a dark and witty British comedy that is a great way to pass a cold winter’s evening, even with the slightly silly finale to the film. The video looks great, sharply focused and cleanly detailed, accompanied with a practical 5.1 soundtrack. Sadly, the extra features are a little lacking, however this is still one of the funnier films of 2004. Well, 2002 rather as this film had been sitting in storage until its 2004 theatrical release. But anyway, you get the idea. Give this baby a rent and you never know, you may laugh so much you could wake the dead. Either that, or provide them with an intermittent and slightly embarrassing shower when you laugh too hard.