Review of Krays, The
It is ironic, that having viewed this film last night, and writing the review today with the radio on, I have just heard that today is the funeral of Charlie Kray, elder brother to Ronnie and Reggie. I have just watched him being interviewed on the 54 minute documentary that is included on this DVD. Spooky!
The Krays was one of the most successful British movies of 1990, and features the ex-Spandau Ballet brothers Gary and Martin Kemp in the title roles. Eastenders fans will know Martin Kemp as nasty night club owning Steve Owen in the soap. Although the Krays were identical twins, the brothers Kemp are not, and although similar in looks, they handle the roles admirably which was their first big screen appearance together since their music days.
The film is an accurate picture of how the Kray twins grew up to rule the East End during the 50s and 60s, and this is brought home when you watch the excellent documentary ‘Flesh and Blood’ that is included on the DVD as an extra. Many of the factual occurrences that took place during their ‘reign’ has been faithfully dramatised in the movie, and many of the other characters in the film, have been interviewed in the documentary, intermixed with clips from the film.
As you would expect, the film is violent and thoroughly deserves its 18 certificate. The menacing evil that is released as the twins grow up is shown dramatically, and Gary Kemp’s evil scowl into the bathroom mirror towards the end of the movie is one you will not forget in a hurry.
Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear. This DVD includes a 1.33:1 pan and scan transfer. Why? Such a shame as there is no other Region 2 version of this excellent film that features a widescreen presentation. Why do companies do this? Admittedly this title was first released on DVD in early 1999, so who knows – there may be a re release with a proper widescreen version in the future.
Another Oh Dear! The picture quality is appalling! The print they used for this DVD must have been lying around someone’s garden shed for a while. The picture is full of scratches and pops throughout the film, the opening titles are shaking badly, and you really get the impression that with the awful print used and the 1.33:1 ratio used, that this DVD was planned by some temp working there for a week or two during their college holidays. The picture is generally quite dull, and colour seems washed out in parts. I doubt if this is meant to reflect the ‘mood’ of the film though.
During the boxing match scenes, some noticeable vertical black lines appear every few seconds also. No care or thought has gone into this presentation at all.
The sound quality is just as bad. Admittedly this film never benefited from a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, being a 10 year old low budget British effort, and the DVD only sports a stereo soundtrack, but the worst thing is that the print they used is not only awful on the video quality, but the sound is less than great too. There is lots of hiss, lots of pops to accompany the scratches on screen… Need I go on? The sound does seem to improve a little as the film progresses however, from the tube scenes onwards, and during the fight sequences.
It really indicates that they used the worst print that they could. Bar none!
Boring static menus here lead the way to the saviour of the DVD – a marvellous 54 minute documentary entitled ‘Flesh and Blood’ that tells the story of the real life Kray twins. It features news articles, TV coverage and interviews with some of the gang members that makes for compelling viewing.
This is a great film, accurately portraying the lives of Britain’s most notorious gangsters. The twins are shown as children, through to adolescents and finally adults, and the viewer can see their personalities develop. From the early scene in the school room where the boys watch their teacher treat some of this pupils, and seeing how power can make you feared. The characters are developed throughout the film and appear very menacing and power hungry from an early age.
The DVD is appalling quality! It is a shame as most of the problems are purely down to the quality of the original source. If some care had gone into this stage, then things could have been rosier.
The documentary is excellent, it has to be said, and gets a big plus point. At the moment it would appear that no Region 1 version is available.
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