This movie is most definitely filed in the "marmite" category, you either love it or hate it. If you do enjoy it then you've found a friend for life. It just gets better and better with repeated viewings.
We follow two unemployed actors in the late sixties as they go on "holiday by mistake" to Wales to escape the squalor of they're London flat. "There's something inherently funny about two thespians in crises", this is how director Bruce Robinson describes it and he's spot on with that analysis.
Miss-understood during production, after release and even today by many. This did not break any records when initially released in the latter part of the 1980's but as time passed it began to find a loyal following and today is seen by its growing legion of fans, as one of the most endlessly watchable and quotable movies of all time.
Cult status is forever assured. I once saw a T-Shirt printing stall at the Glastonbury Festival where you could have the line of your choice emblazoned across it. "Don't threaten me with a dead fish" was always a personal favourite.
I liken this movie in some ways to "The Big Lebowski", it doesn't follow a conventional plot narrative or conform to the ethics of start, middle and end. Yet it has characters so perfectly cast and performed so astoundingly with perfect dialog and interaction that you just can't stop watching it.
Very highly recommended.
Anchor Bay have granted this feature with an MPEG-4 AVC encoded, 1.77:1 framed, 1080p transfer onto a 50GB Blu-ray disc of poor picture quality. What a shame.
Firstly I must say that I never thought that this movie was ever going to look astounding in HD. The colour saturation is muted which could well be intentional. Browns fill the pallet but we do not get great vibrancy anywhere, even the black levels appear more dark grey in appearance. Skin tones are on the pale side.
Detail, although enhanced from previous DVD releases, is never exceptional. We do get a greater feeling of clarity and depth when scenes move to the Welsh valleys, some daylight moments look quite good. Film grain is purely filmic and is never obtrusive, no DNR scrubbing has been used, in fact we do not suffer any digital enhancements with this transfer.
We do suffer some compression issues though, with one or two moments of macro blocking visible, crush also appears in a few of the darker moments. I also suffered moments of shudder here and there. The print itself is in pretty good condition but I feel that a new master should be sourced and this would definitely benefit from a full restoration.
A disappointing image for a truly wonderful film.
Film 5/5 Transfer 2/5