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  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
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  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
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    English
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Beautiful Creatures

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 84 mins . MA15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

There's a bit of a problem facing filmmakers from the British Isles nowadays. If your flick has any form of drugs in it, it instantly gets compared to Trainspotting. If it has anything to do with crime or guns, it's suddenly mentioned in the same breath as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. This fate has befallen Beautiful Creatures, and it's a bit of a shame as it tends to put preconceived ideas of what to expect from it into the minds of more ovine potential viewers. Oh, and add the fact that the two main protagonists are chicks and you just HAVE to mention Thelma and Louise, donít you? So, let's just lose the preconceptions and judge director Bill Eagles' debut film on its own merits...

Dorothy (Susan Lynch) has a twisted arsehole boyfriend named Tony (Iain Glen), and he's none too jazzed on discovering that she's pawned his golf clubs - in fact he's so annoyed that his idea of some good revenge is deep-frying a bra, stealing all her money, destroying an entire wardrobe of clothes and daubing her poor white dog (Pluto) with red paint. Petula (Rachel Weisz, complete with blonde wig) too is saddled with an absolute thuggish prick of a partner, this one named Brian (Tom Mannion). When he's ever so delightfully bashing and strangling her one night the two girls cross paths, and Dorothy clocks the out of control Brian over the head with a massive piece of scaffolding pipe, rendering him unconscious. So what to do now? Drag him back to Dorothy's place and plop him in the bath, have a joint and a haircut and chill out a bit, that's what. Which is all very well until Brian wakes up, falls over and knocks himself out - this time for good.

Brian's brother, and Petula's employer, Ronnie (Maurice Roeves) is concerned when he canít contact his sibling, and the girls have to work out just what to do, as he is yet another bloke you simply don't mess with. When Pluto mistakes one of the rather stiff Brian's fingers as a Meatybite though, a plan is hatched to make it all look like a kidnapping - offering the bonus of a chance to relieve Ronnie of a million quid so the girls can emancipate themselves from the realm of losers they are currently stuck in.

Add to the cocktail a dodgy sleazebag sicko Chief Inspector (Alex Norton), and the return of smack-addict Tony (so THAT's why he was so worried about his precious gold clubs) and you have a film that doesnít exactly paint a rosy picture of manhood, in fact there arenít any examples of fellas with redeeming features in this film anywhere. Performance-wise Lynch and Weisz share an on-screen bond that helps the film in its aims no end, and with performances from the likes of Glen and Mannion enough to make any decent human being cringe, commendation must at least be given to them for authenticity.

Whilst Beautiful Creatures may make a few guys out there squirm, and the more easily defensive ones beat their chests with shouts of "femmo rubbish!" and such like, it is a thoroughly entertaining black comedy that if say you threatened me in any such way as either Brian or Tony if I didnít compare it to something else filmic, I'd have to admit has a similar vibe to the rather underrated Scottish film Shallow Grave - but only in its non-Hollywood subtly devilish comedic tones. It also has quite a fantastic twisty ending that should leave fans of British cinema feeling quite satisfied.

  Video
Contract

An anamorphically enhanced, 1.85:1 presentation, Beautiful Creatures does share something with most British films - being set in Glasgow there's a certain greyness to the whole landscape, resulting in a lack of particularly vivid colour. However, this isn't to say that what's here isnít rendered very well - for it is. Everything is very detailed and sharp, most pleasing considering the slightly grainy (most likely by intent) vibe throughout the feature. The only visible nasties are a couple of minor instances of aliasing, and those faithful old black and white spots that appear from time to time, but these certainly arenít irksome enough to bother getting up in arms about.

It's a rather short film at only 84 minutes, and even with the virtual complete lack of bonus goodies (getting there, donít worry) there is a layer change midway through - and it's a very good one, occurring at the tail end of a heavy breathing telephone call and virtually unnoticeable unless you're the Queen Bitch of Layer Change Spotting like yours truly.

  Audio
Contract

A subtle 5.1 mix is featured, and being a heavily dialogue based film it doesnít really get to show off much, although a certain golf shot at one point should have most people ducking for cover. Subwoofwoof action is rare and also subtle, but adds a pleasant bit of oomph on the odd occasions it is called upon. Dialogue is wonderfully clear, save for a couple of whispered bits, and really the only potential problems some may face getting the gist of what's going on is if understanding mild Scottish accents is an issue.

Aiding and abetting an almost curiously jaunty soundtrack by Murray Gold are a selection of pop songs, most notably from Scottish band Texas, with one of their few ditties that was a hit in this country, I Donít Want A Lover. Elsewhere the likes of Dean 'Doobedoobedoo' Martin and Sandie Shaw drop by, as well as Gladys Knight & the Pips with their take on one of the more popular soundtrack songs of recent years, The Look of Love, used here in a rather strange manner. That's the Bacharach and David version by the way, not the rather bombastic Trevor Horn-produced one by early '80s band ABC...

  Extras
Contract

It would be so great to wax lyrical in infinite detail about the massive wodges of bonus goodies here, but as there's basically bugger all it just isnít possible.

A static and silent menu leads to some rather rudimentary production notes, some nigh on useless cast and filmmaker information, a plea for everybody to join the Universal DVD Online Community (even promising surprise goodies!) and a just-shy-of-two-minutes theatrical trailer, which although in the correct ratio did not get the anamorphic treatment. Which all adds up to a pretty weak effort.

  Overall  
Contract

The synopsis above may lead to the belief that this is only a film for the hairy armpit, blue singlet wearing, truck driving lesbian brigade, but it's that as much as Thelma and Louise was (bugger, now I've gone and mentioned it too!) Rather it simply turns the tables on the far more typical filmic fare where the males are the heroes, and the females simply ditzy or annoying by the by characters. And hey, there ain't nothin' wrong with the occasional bout of cinematic male bashing just for a change, is there girls? Hmm, perhaps we won't go there...

The quality of the film's presentation on this disc canít really be faulted, however the lack of anything vaguely resembling a substantial extra certainly can, so if you like your films to be quite un-Hollywood and not exactly popcorn fare then Beautiful Creatures is most definitely at least worthy of a rent.

If nothing else do it for a dog that's 50% acrylic...


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=923
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      And I quote...
    "An often disturbing, yet curiously rivetting, black comedy that's a lot more than simply an opportunity for a bit of male bashing..."
    - Amy Flower
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Pioneer DV-535
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Onkyo TX-DS494
    • Speakers:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse RBS662
    • Centre Speaker:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECC442
    • Surrounds:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECR042
    • Subwoofer:
          DTX Digital 4.8
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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