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I don't know for sure, but I guess that SAVING GRACE ($25) is what they mean when they say "high comedy." Actually, SAVING GRACE is a very charming English comedy about an enterprising, albeit nave, widow who does what she has to do after discovering that her unfaithful husband left her hopelessly in debt. Brenda Blethyn stars as Grace Trevethyn, the widow in question, who goes into "joint venture" with her gardener Matthew (Craig Ferguson). Together, they begin growing a cash crop of marijuana in Grace's greenhouse that is just large enough to get the widow complete out of debt. Of course, complications arise when Grace wants to bring her harvest to market and finds herself dealing with the criminal element, while at the same time fending off creditors and the law. While growing and using marijuana may not be everyone's cup of tea, SAVING GRACE is harmless fun that succeeds quite well in creating intoxicating doses of laughter. The cast of SAVING GRACE also includes Martin Clunes, Tchky Karyo, Jamie Foreman, Bill Bailey, Valerie Edmond, Tristan Sturrock, Clive Merrison, Leslie Phillips, Diana Quick, Phyllida Law, Linda Kerr Scott, Denise Coffey, Paul Brooke and Ken Campbell.

As Ive come to expect, New Line Home Video delivers another first rate presentation with their DVD release of SAVING GRACE. SAVING GRACE is framed at 2.35:1 and the DVD features the anamorphic enhancement for playback on 16:9 displays. The image on the DVD is sharp and offers a very good level of detail. Colors are rather rich looking, while flesh tones are reproduced quite naturally. All of the stronger warm and cool hues are completely stable, without a trace of bleeding. Blacks are accurately rendered and the picture produces a healthy dose of shadow detail and rather smooth contrast. The film element used for the transfer is in very good shape, with only a few minor blemishes cropping up. There are no signs of digital compression artifacts on this cleanly authored DVD.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack has a standard comedy mix, which is stronger on dialogue than any other sonic element. There are some directional effects throughout the film, but they are few and far between- even rarer are split surround effects. Dialogue reproduction is very crisp, with all of the British accents maintaining full intelligibility. Mark Russell's score sounds pretty nice, although this sound mix doesn't have the open, musical quality of higher budgeted films. The bass channel lays a solid foundation; however, the lower frequencies only come into play on a few occasions. An English Dolby Surround soundtrack is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English subtitles. The basic interactive menus provide access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few extras. SAVING GRACE includes two audio commentaries, the first track features stars Brenda Blethyn and Craig Furguson and director Nigel Cole, while the second again includes Furguson and Cole, with the addition of co-writer Mark Crowely. Since the first track seems to consist of edited together interviews, it isn't as satisfying as the screen specific second track. Don't get me wrong; both tracks have their merits, although casual listeners will appreciate the second track more than the first. A theatrical trailer and cast biographies fill out the DVD's extras.

SAVING GRACE is a delightful British comedy that will appeal to most audiences. The DVD looks great and sounds just fine- so add SAVING GRACE to your list of DVDs to check out.


Saving Grace


DVD reviews are Copyright 2001 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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