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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Lansdown
Lansdown
Vanguard // Unrated // March 25, 2003
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Don Houston | posted April 20, 2003 | E-mail the Author
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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
Recommended
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P R I N T
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Movie: In the late 60's and early 70's, movies focused a lot on the anti-hero. That was the guy who was a loser or bad guy but you wanted him to succeed anyway because of the circumstances he was placed in. In the 80's, the focus seemed more in line with the wealth-gathering robber barons who manipulated others to acquire large fortunes. Well, in the 90's and 00's, the rise of various director's in the shockingly harsh black comedies have moved to the forefront. Sometimes it's with lines that are so bad, they're good and other times it's with circumstances that are just barely imaginable. In the movie Lansdown, we are treated to a low budget (under 70K) movie that looks like it had seasoned professionals that cared about what they made.

The box describes the movie like this: "In the first scene of this dark comedy, defense lawyer Jake Jorgenson learns of his wife's infidelity when he hears her orgasmic escapades on an audio tape made by a former client. As Jake tries to reclaim the life he covets by killing his wife's lover, his carefully constructed world begins to unravel. His decision to ask the former client for help brings three amateur hitmen into the mix. Their "simple job" turns bad, raising the stakes for Jake and forcing him to take matters into his own hands..." While that accurately covers the basic plot, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that much of the dialogue comes from real life experiences. When one of the characters needed to borrow his girlfriend's car, she forced him to sit through an endless barrage of touchy-feely "how was your day" talk before she'd lend it to him. It was so accurate that you know the screenwriter had such a mate in his past (as the actor must've had too). The back and forth between other characters was also dead on target more often then not as well. Not bad considering the shooting schedule of the minimal crew, the fact it was the director's first movie, and the fact that it looked a lot better than movies made for a lot more. I don't want to ruin the surprises for you by listing all the funny bits but most people who like such films will want to rent it sight unseen.

Picture: The picture was presented in widescreen and looked very good for such a low budget movie. There was some grain throughout the show and some of the time, the camera angles weren't quite optimal but I have few complaints in this regard.

Sound: The sound was in Dolby Digital Stereo but there was little separation between the scenes. Given the nature of the movie and it's budget, the sound was not a problem either.

Extras: The best extra was the Director and Producer audio commentary. It described much of the technical limitations and problems encountered by the crew in shooting the movie. The other extra was a trailer for the movie.

Final Thoughts: True independent movies are usually the result of a lot of passion and work rather than a crew of people who don't care because they are "paid professionals" who are just doing a job to put food on the table. The director was actually a Harvard graduate who makes his real living as an attorney (hence he knows the mindset of a lawyer (like the murderous lead of the show) and makes us believe in the accuracy of the characters. To sum up the movie, I'd say it was a murder gone bad with all the consequences, set in a very dark comedic circumstance. While some have compared Lansdown to a Tarentino film, I'd suggest this was much better in most ways than anything the well known director has made to date-including the screenplay and the acting. If given a real budget, a more seasoned cast, and allowed to make another movie, I venture to say that Director Zuber could make something a lot more accessible to the masses yet keep true to his vision. I'm suggesting it as a recommended movie instead of highly recommended due to it's lower than average production values (and higher than average price) but there was a lot to like here and I've seen it several times myself. Lastly, the movie was unrated but contained lots of graphic violence and some nudity (male and female) which would likely have given it an R.

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