• Dingo (Umbrella Entertainment) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Umbrella Entertainment
    Released on: January 6th 2021.
    Director: Rolf De Heer
    Cast: Colin Friels, Miles Davis, Helen Buday
    Year: 1991
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    Dingo – Movie Review:

    The second entry in Umbrella Entertainment’s Sunburnt Screens collection (the first being Peter Weir’s The Last Wave) is Rolf De Heer’s 1991 picture, Dingo. The film stars Colin Friels as John Anderson, ‘Dingo’ to his friends. He’s an aspiring musician who plays local dance halls and dive bars but who makes his living trapping dingos in the Australian outback.

    As a kid in the late sixties, he was lucky enough to see his hero, a trumpeter named Billy Cross (played by jazz legend Miles Davis), play live when their plane made an impromptu stop nearby. From this point on, John decided he’d like to up his game and head to Paris to play with as many of the great jazz musicians around that he can. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, adult John has a family that he cares for a great deal and leaving them to head to Paris to follow his dream isn’t a decision to be made lightly. His wife, Jane (Helen Buday), thinks her husband is a dreamer with his head in the clouds, but there’s more to his mission than she gives him credit for.

    The big draw here for most viewers is bound to be the presence of the late, great Miles Davis in his first and only feature film role. Davis is basically playing himself here, and he’s quite good in the part. Effortlessly cool, seriously talented and quite enigmatic at times. The fact that Marc Rosenberg’s screenplay gives him many of the best lines in the movie doesn’t really hurt anything either. If Davis doesn’t show amazing range, he proves perfect in the part. Colin Friels, on the other hand, does show very good range and delivers very strong work here.

    Dingo may be a low key drama by most peoples’ standards but Rolf De Heer controls the pacing well. The film is often times more interesting in building character than in relaying action, so get ready for a bit of a slow burn, but it never feels dull. De Heer and cinematographer Denis Lenoir do a really nice job with the framing, the movie looks beautiful and the scenes with Davis on his trumpet are a treat to watch. The score, which Davis created with Michel Legrand, is also very strong, a freewheeling selection of music that compliments the story and the tone of the film rather perfectly.

    Dingo – Blu-ray Review:

    Dingo arrives on Region B Blu-ray from Umbrella Entertainment in AVC encoded 1080p high definition framed at 2.35.1 on a 50GB disc with the feature taking up 33.6GBs of space. The transfer is very nice, showing excellent color reproduction and offering lots of depth, detail and texture. Skin tones look nice and natural and there are no issues with any noise reduction or edge enhancement. Compression artifacts never get in the way of anything and all in all, the movie looks really nice on this disc.

    Audio chores are handled by your choice of 24-bit English language DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo and DTS-HD 5.1 Surround Sound options with optional English Subtitles. No complaints here, the audio sounds great. The 5.1 mix in particular does an excellent job of spreading the mix around very nicely, there’s a lot of depth to the track and it’s quite impressive to hear.

    Extras start off with an interview featurettes with Director Rolf de Heer that runs for just over thirty-three-minutes. De Heer covers how Sammy Davis Jr. was slated to appear in the film before he passed away, how they wound up getting Miles Davis for the movie and what he was like to work with, Michel Legrand's contributions to the score, working with the rest of the cast and crew and more. There’s also fifteen-minute piece here called Helen Buday in Conversation with Paul Harris where the film's leading lady speaks about what it was like on set, working with Friels and Davis, De Heer's direction, the cinematography and more.

    The disc also includes an eighteen-minute featurette entitled Rushes Reel: The Desert Runway with audio commentary by Rolf de Heer. It’s an interesting piece that examines how the important runway sequence was shot and put together. It’s fairly technical but quite interesting.

    Rounding out the extras are theatrical trailers for Dingo and two other De Heer pictures, they being The Tracker and Bad Boy Bubby. Menus and chapter selection are also provided. Some reversible cover sleeve art is also provided.

    Dingo - The Final Word:

    Dingo is an interesting and pensive film, a movie that deals in choices and their consequences and the importance of being true to oneself. Worth seeing just for Miles Davis’ involvement alone, the film benefits from an excellent score, nice cinematography and some strong acting from all involved. Umbrella Entertainment’s Blu-ray release is great, presenting the film in excellent shape, with very strong audio and a nice selection of extra features.

    Click on the images below for full sized Dingo Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Darcy Parker's Avatar
      Darcy Parker -
      This movie ate my baby!