Stone Bros. Review

Perth. Eddie (Luke Carroll) is bored with city life and feels an urge to return to his aboriginal roots. So he drives back to his home town of Kalgoorlie (Western Australia), taking a sacred stone back with him. Unofrtunately his cousin Charlie (Leon Burchill) is along for the ride as well...

Comedy often doesn't travel well, especially not comedy which is culturally specific. For example, in Stone Bros., there's a dream/fantasy scene where Eddie is approached in a supermarket by white folk eager for him to take their children, take anything in the shop as it's on the a repeated refrain of “We're sorry”. It's not hard to catch the reference, specifically to Rudd government's formal apology in 2008 to indigenous Australians for the “stolen generations” of children who were forcibly removed from their families. But spotting a topical reference is different to finding it funny – or at least this white, non-Australian viewer didn't laugh. More specifically, director Richard J. Frankland's approach to comedy is to throw everything at the screen and see if it sticks – Eddie and Charlie's outback road journey takes in a large supply of dope, an Italian lothario, a failed drag artist and a dog which has been demonically possessed by the spirit of one of Charlie's exes. Frankland's comic timing is off, and he clearly finds two people screaming in unison so funny that he repeats this device several times. Action continues some way into the closing credits.

I found this film heavy-handed and almost entirely unfunny. Then again, your mileage may well vary.

The Disc: Stone Bros. is a release by SBS, an Australian broadcasting network, which Madman are distributing on DVD. This probably explains why it's an all-region DVD instead of the usual Madman encoding of Region 4 only.

Shot in HD, Stone Bros. is transferred to DVD in a ratio of 1.85:1 and anamorphically enhanced. The film is lit according to the usual principle for comedies: bright light and strong colours. It looks pretty sharp, but then it should, being a new film transferred from a HD source. Shadow detail is what it should be.

Stone Bros. played in Dolby Digital in cinemas, but unfortunately we only get a Dolby Surround (2.0) soundmix on DVD. The soundtrack is pretty much front-and-centre for the most part, without much in the way of surround activity. Also unfortunately, there are no subtitles available.

Extras are nothing much. First there is the trailer (2:15), in 16:9 anamorphic, and then there are interviews with the cast and crew (10:16), in non-anamorphic 16:9. This is as lightweight as these things usually are, especially considering that none of the speakers are identified and the ten minutes is padded out with letterboxed clips from the film. Finally, there's a one-page director's statement printed on the inside front cover of the DVD case.

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