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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Rhino Brothers
The Rhino Brothers
Seville Pictures // R // September 10, 2002
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted October 2, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

While the popularity of hockey has largely been explored on-screen in comedies ("Slap Shot") or children's fare ("Mighty Ducks") first-time director Dwayne Beaver instead manages an interesting, melancholy film that plays out like an independent cross between a sports drama and something like "The Brothers McMullen". Thankfully, more time is clearly devoted to character here than in many of the film's bigger-budget hockey counterparts.

The film involves the three brothers of the title: Stefan (Curt Bechdholt), who has the potential to make the pros; Sasha (William MacDonald), whose career was sidelined by injuries and attitude and Victor (Alistair Abell), who spends his days coaching the local hockey team and trying to raise a family. Looking over them all is Ellen (Gabrielle Rose, in a terrific performance), whose gently overpowering ways suggest a parent who may see hockey as a way for her sons to escape their small town, but doesn't see (and, given the chillingly tough exterior, seems to have forgotten long ago) the fact that they may not share her dreams of life on the ice. The brothers, as siblings will do, also compete with - and care about - each other.

Although the title would suggest a comedy, "The Rhino Brothers" sticks firmly in dramatic territory. While often fairly depressing, director Beaver deserves credit for managing to never let the tone get too heavy. The film also explores the characters and their relationships enjoyably, with well-written dialogue and situations that may be familiar, but are handled intelligently here. The performances from all three brothers are excellent, but Rose really steals the show in an icy performance as Ellen.

While obviously a no-budget feature, the film does make its primitive visuals work in its favor, with a subdued appearance that make the characters and situations feel even more realistic. Pacing is also never a problem; while dramatic and emotional, the story keeps moving and there's enough intensity to keep things involving. While not always without concerns, "Rhino Brothers" is a fine picture and suggests a potentially bright future for everyone involved.


The DVD

VIDEO: "The Rhino Brothers" is presented by Seville in 1.85:1 non-anamorphic widescreen. While the title is unfortunately not anamorphic, the picture quality was still surprisingly decent. Sharpness and detail remained pleasant, as the picture usually appeared crisp, with only a few scattered interior scenes looking slightly dark and/or murky.

Only a few minor problems appeared; some slight dirt and a handful of marks appeared on the print used were noticed, along with some minimal edge enhancement. Pixelation was not noticed, either. My copy did freeze up on a few occasions, but it seemed to be due to a bad disc (there were no scratches or other problems but an unusual mark was visible just under the surface of the disc).

Colors were crisply rendered, with natural hues and no smearing. Overall, a very nice transfer. While the best elements are not always available to the smaller studio, Seville still manages to do the best with what they have.

SOUND: "Rhino Brothers" is presented in Dolby 2.0. This is an adequate soundtrack that offers clear dialogue, occasional instances of nice ambience and a crisp score.

MENUS: Basic, non-animated main menu.

EXTRAS: Seville provides a commentary from director Dwayne Beaver and members of the cast. Beaver is really the highlight of track, as he provides a richly detailed overview of the indie production, going into a lot of his choices and talking about a lot of the obstacles he faced. This is an excellent commentary that I found very involving and, more importantly, quite insightful. Rounding out the supplements are trailers for "Rhino Brothers" and "Summit On Ice", along with bios and a featurette.

Final Thoughts: While most sports pictures are star-driven dramas or comedies, it was really nice to see an independent, character-driven sports picture that managed clearly draw both its characters and their relationships as well as the film's feeling towards the sport. Seville's DVD edition offers respectable audio/video quality, along with an excellent commentary. This title from Seville is a Canadian exlusive and must be imported from either videoflicks.com or amazon.ca (Canada)
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