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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Plunkett and Macleane
Plunkett and Macleane
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Review by Aaron Beierle | posted March 28, 2000 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

Being badly named is pretty much the least of "Plunkett and Macleane"'s problems. Directed by Jake Scott (son of "G.I. Jane" director Ridley Scott), the film is all style and no substance, a odd period thriller with the occasional techno song wandering into the soundtrack. I suppose I can understand wanting to add some energy and flash to a period film, but this film is swallowed up by it's own style and lack of story.

The film stars Johnny Lee Miller and Robert Carlyle of "Trainspotting" as Macleane and Plunkett, who join together to rob from the rich. The two decide that with Macleane's connections to society and Plunkett's smarts, they can gain quite a haul. Macleane falls for Lady Rebecca(Liv Tyler), who just happens to be the niece of the chief justice. So, the two go on robbing and eventually become rather famous, chased after by a number of cartoony characters.

I still don't understand just what was going on in many scenes from the film. There's little dialogue, and not much detail to the characters, so things just happen - with little explanation. The phony style doesn't help tell the story, either. The camerawork is uneventful and the techno soundtrack is an annoying mis-match to the movie, as well. The actors, with the exception of Liv Tyler, add little energy to the picture.

It's the dialogue though (or lack of it, that is), that sinks the picture. Scenes make little sense and characters are thinly written. Even the relationship between Macleane and Rebecca is pretty dull. It's a mess of a movie, with little in the way of positive aspects. I liked Tyler's performance, but that's about it. The film's 102 minute running time seems endless with the lack of structure.


The DVD

VIDEO: Another instance of a not-so-good movie getting a good transfer, the only different here is that the quality is beyond good - it's simply stunning. USA Films has had a number of efforts lately such as "The Muse", and I must say - they're improving each time out. Many scenes of "Plunkett" take place in dimly lit and murky scenes or darkness, and the image is perfectly sharp and consistently detailed throughout. Colors are natural and gorgeous, with no flaws at all - from the colder palette of the outside to the warmer tones of the interior scenes at the parties or otherwise. Black level is solid and flesh tones are natural, as well.

This may not be a great film, but it's a beautiful looking one, and the DVD presents every detail of the costumes and sets wonderfully. No pixelation and no shimmering make for a wonderfully natural image. The print used is also in perfect condition. Viewers can also choose a full-frame version on the flip-side.

SOUND: The sound comes alive nicely during some of the action scenes like the fireworks in chapter 13, but otherwise, it's the score that becomes the main focus of the audio. Rich and dynamic, the score thumps away in the background of many of the scenes. Dialogue is clear, but occasionally a little thin sounding.

MENUS: Stylish, although non-animated, menus with a nice "period" look.

EXTRAS: US and UK trailers, short featurette

Final Thoughts: The movie is a mess, but the DVD quality isn't bad at all. I'd say that this is one of those titles where, if you were one who enjoyed this picture in the theater, I'd definitely recommend it. If you haven't seen it, I'd skip it entirely. Either way, I've got to give USA praise for such a nice looking image.

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