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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Peaches
Peaches
Image // Unrated // July 18, 2006
List Price: $24.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Preston Jones | posted August 20, 2006 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
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A U D I O
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The Movie

No, it's not a probing documentary about the famously filthy electro-clash star, but rather Peaches is a tender, surprisingly affecting 2004 Australian import starring That Guy Who Is Probably Much, Much Better Known To The World as Elrond, Agent Smith and V (better known as actor Hugo Weaving). I'm not entirely sure when Peaches was filmed, but it made the festival rounds in late 2004 and feels very much like a palate cleanser for Weaving, as though he needed to wash out the taste of back-to-back blockbusters. This isn't to downplay Craig Monahan's keenly observed, fitfully wrenching drama, but rather pay it respect as a well-made, refreshingly intelligent work that doesn't hew closely to convention.

Monahan, who worked previously with Weaving in 1998's The Interview, infuses Sue Smith's insightful screenplay with a few deft touches, most notably the impressionistic staging of the opening car crash, as well as an often palpable sense of place. Emma Lung turns in an effective performance as Steph, a "miracle baby" whose birth in the very car crash that ended her parents' lives, and who is now coming of age and wrestling with her feelings for her supervisor, Alan (Weaving). As Steph pieces together her emotional journey via her dead mother's diary, her illicit affair with Alan and her conversations with her friend Jude (Jacqueline McKenzie) and co-worker Brian (Matthew Le Nevez), she wrestles with the eternal questions of coming-of-age.

Weaving flashbacks in amid present day sequences, Monahan and Smith create the kind of seemingly effortless character studies that, for the most part, seem to elude most American filmmakers, who destroy intimate tales such as these with an over-reliance on flash. Peaches is a deceptively simple tale of maturation, set in an admittedly odd place – how many films do you see dealing with struggling fruit canneries? – but suffuse with wit, heart and feeling; that's a sweet a cinematic experience as one can hope for.

The DVD

The Video:

Peaches is presented with a crisp, vivid 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that captures the luminous beauty of Ernie Clarke's sunlit cinematography – delineation is sharp, colors look lush and saturated while blacks are rich and inky. A very clean, handsome image.

The Audio:

The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is robust and immersive, reproducing the dialogue and score with clarity and depth. There's not a hint of distortion or drop-out, with those Aussie accents coming through loud and clear. A Dolby 2.0 surround soundtrack is also on board as are optional English subtitles.

The Extras:

The supplements are slight but worth checking out: a handful of cast and crew interviews are onboard, all of which are presented in anamorphic widescreen and playable separately: Monahan (15:13); Weaving (16:14); McKenzie (16:14); Lung (5:00) and Le Nevez (1:21). The film's theatrical trailer and a photo gallery round out the disc.

Final Thoughts:

Monahan and Smith create the kind of seemingly effortless character studies that, for the most part, seem to elude most American filmmakers, who destroy intimate tales such as these with an over-reliance on flash. Peaches is a deceptively simple tale of maturation, set in an admittedly odd place – how many films do you see dealing with struggling fruit canneries? – but suffuse with wit, heart and feeling; that's a sweet a cinematic experience as one can hope for. Recommended.

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