DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
International DVDs
Theatrical
Adult
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
XCritic.com
DVD Stalk
DVD Savant
High-Def Revolution
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum
Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

DVDTalk Info
Review Staff
About DVD Talk
Advertise
Newsletter Subscribe
Join DVD Talk Forum
DVD Talk Feeds


Special Offer

Search: For:
Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Idiot Box
Idiot Box
Wellspring // Unrated // July 24, 2001
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Gil Jawetz | posted October 25, 2001 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Rent It
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
Printer Friendly

The 1996 Australian film Idiot Box follows two major film cliches. First, it patterns itself after Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets, with its somewhat repentant protagonist and more anarchic, violent, chaotic secondary lead. This is a dynamic that countless films, from Laws of Gravity to Federal Hill to Menace II Society, have followed with varying degrees of success. Secondly, it revolves around some major doofuses planning a bank robbery with no real notion of what they're doing. Every film school guy, it seems, dreams of pulling off the big heist and from Reservoir Dogs to Bottle Rocket to Dead Presidents has attempted it. Idiot Box plods through these standard conventions with a few side-trips into other styles, from Seven's credit sequence, to Trainspotting's frantic pace and heroin visuals, to Altman-esque multi-thread plotting.

If this review so far reads like a list of other people's movies it's because Idiot Box feels like watching a clip show of recent movie highlights (with thick, indecipherable accents thrown in for good measure). Even the title and the one original touch (the constant intercutting of fragments of TV shows) indicate that the film and the characters are constructed out of movies that came before. The plot concerns Mick (Jeremy Sims) and Kev (Ben Mendelsohn), playing the Mean Streets Harvey Keitel and Robert De Niro characters, respectively, as they bum around suburban Australia drinking beer and pulling off petty crimes and annoyances. They get the idea that they should rob a bank from watching someone else pull it off on the news. As they plan the heist the film also shows us a couple of other stories: The cops staking out the real robbers and a couple slowly losing everything to the woman's heroin addiction. None of this is too compelling since it never shakes the sense that we've seen it all before. Still, it's handled with style and charisma and when the inevitable ending arrives, it is played out with just enough mystery and ambiguity that it still manages to come as something of a surprise.

VIDEO:
The non-anamorphic video looks good. A few specks appear here and there but overall it's clean and crisp. Colors are a little desaturated, but that seems to be a stylistic choice. Overall this is a very well shot film with off-balance compositions that help the emphasize isolation and boredom of the characters. Overscan poses a problem, however, for the opening credits, which are designed up to the edges of the screen. Lots of letters are cut off.

AUDIO:
The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0. There is a huge difference in volume between the blaring music and the mumbled dialog, so a lot of volume knob riding is in order. No subtitles are included, which is a shame, since the actors have tough accents. The closing credits reveal that the film was released in DTS in selected theaters but alas no such luck on getting a DTS track on the disc.

EXTRAS:
A five minute behind the scenes segment that consists of about four minutes of clips from the movie and one minute of interviews with the cast and crew. A trailer and some bios are also included.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
Idiot Box may think it's making a statement about violence gleaned from too much TV but it's nothing more yet another violent entertainment itself. Still, fans of wham-bang Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels flicks will find plenty to like here.

Popular Reviews
1. Godzilla 2000
2. Tinto Brass: Maestro Of Erotica Cinema
3. Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla / Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack
4. They Came Together
5. Graceland: Season 1
6. Wilfred Season 3
7. Last Man Standing Season 1
8. All That Jazz
9. Rebirth of Mothra / Rebirth of Mothra II / Rebirth of Mothra III
10. Legend of Hell House


Special Offers
DVD Blowouts
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Alien [Blu-ray]
Buy: $19.99 $9.99
8.
9.
10.
Special Offers
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Copyright 2014 DVDTalk.com All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use