The independent filmmakers of Australia have produced many excellent films including Chopper, Looking For Alibrandi and to a certain extent The Wog Boy. Innocence is no different. Starring Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell (some might recognise him from Full Frontal or The Craic), Julia Blake and Terry Norris, Paul Cox directs with precise and accurate skill. His film is delicately subtle and has a very richly filled story full of characters who are believable and the audience can feel sympathetic for them. Some might not be open for some of the confronting implied sex scenes between the two leads, but still it is worth these few short scenes just to enjoy the moving story. This movie is able to touch you deep inside and feel for the characters. The acting is so realistic and sincere, and just adds so much to the tone of the film. The beautiful Adelaide scenery (am I biased?) is a perfect setting for these fragile characters and is slower than the busy streets of Sydney, for example which reflects the characters lives.
Innocence follows the story of Andreas (Tingwell) who discovered that his long-lost love Clare (Blake) lived in the same city. They meet and find out that they still have a passion for each other inside them, but there is a problem and that is that Clare is married. But now, they are both in their 70’s and begin to realise that they still have as much innocence as when they were teenagers.
There is nothing wrong with this video transfer whatsoever. The youthful, fertile reds are bright, bold and solid, and the dull, grey colours come up clearly and bold in their own way. All of the skin tones are lifelike, and the detail of the older faces is superb, with the texture and shape of the skin coming up very realistically.
There is slight grain during the slow flashbacks, but this is supposed to be there to add a texture to the image. There are no film artefacts or MPEG artefacts and the blacks are solid and strong.
A layer change occurs at 85:37, and is so hard to spot. It was just by chance that the DVD player made a slight noise that gave this layer change away, but otherwise it goes unnoticed. It occurs right before the end, on a solid black frame with not background music or sound effects.
There are two audio tracks – a Dolby Digital 2.0 English soundtrack and a Dolby Digital 2.0 Director’s Commentary. The English language soundtrack is not surround encoded, but this film could have aided from a surround audio track during many of the flashback scenes. But anyway, the sound is crystal clear and audible throughout the entire film. There is nothing really that one can say about a transfer as fine as this!
This disc comes with a boatload of extras, many of which are not expressed on the back cover of the case. But along with a boatload of extras, is a boatload of high-quality extras.
Audio Commentary featuring director Paul Cox and composer Paul Grabowsky, and is an interesting commentary to listen to, and quite informative. However, Commentaries for dramatic films aren’t as appropriate as a special effects blockbuster, but still with the level of symbolism in this film, it can be excused.
Trailers from Paul Cox are 4 trailers from his other films.
“We Are All Alone My Dear” Short Film which runs for approximately 22 minutes also stars older people, as does the feature.
Biographies of Paul Cox, Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell, Mark Patterson, Julia Blake and Terry Norris.
Interviews with Paul Cox, Mark Patterson, Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell, Julia Blake, Terry Norris and Paul Grabowsky. Each Title focuses on one of the cast or crew, and is also divided up into chapters. The total running time for these interviews is over one hour. They are not full screen interviews, but appear on a separate page on the menu. This is suitable as it also shows each interview running time, the title of the chapter, and the actual actor name.
Awards - 5 pages of awards
Press - 26 pages of Press comments
Photo Gallery - 18 stills spread over three pages
if Awards 2000 - a 4 minute feature on the ‘if Awards 2000’
Madman Propaganda features 6 trailers from other Madman Entertainment films including The Monkey’s Mask, Shadow Of The Vampire, Beau Travail, A ma soeur (The Fat Girl), Mullet and Rosetta.
The menus are simply a delight to navigate through and are 4:3 animated menus with music from Grabowsky’s score. The aesthetics of the menus is great, as is highlighter which is clear and automatically goes onto the next option after returning from the previous one.
This disc is simply a dream. The picture is faultless, as is the audio. The only thing that can make the audio better is to be in Surround. The extra features are simply stunning and the film is touching and believable. However, the film may not be your cup of tea, but rent this film none-the-less before buying.