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An Everlasting Piece

review by Zach B.

Rated R

Studio: Dreamworks

Running Time: 103 minutes

Starring Barry McEvoy, Brian F. O'Byrne, Anna Friel and Billy Connolly

Written by Barry McEvoy

Directed by Barry Levinson

Retail Price: $26.95

Features: Cast and Filmmakers Bios, Production Notes, Theatrical Trailer

Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English DTS 5.1, English Dolby Surround, English Subtitles, Chapter Search (20 Chapters)

Released: August 7th, 2001

You may have heard a little bit about "An Everlasting Piece". A lawsuit has been going around for a little bit as of writing this, as the filmmakers sued Dreamworks (the studio that distributed this movie) claiming that they didn't give the movie chance and didn't really support it, claiming the studio would and disapproved of some of the subject matter. A lot of it made the studio seem like a big bad guy (where have we heard this before?), and perhaps, has given some publicity in the movie. Since this movie came out and then just died in such limited release, I didn't check it out. Now you can on video and DVD, and perhaps with this release it will gain more an audience and publicity with those curios about the lawsuit.

"An Everlasting Piece" follows Colm and George, two barbers at a local mental hospital, circa the 1980s in Ireland (one is Catholic while the other is a Protastant). When they are soon faced to cut the hair of "The Scalper", the two learn that he used to be the only toupee distributor in Ireland, and he became quite wealthy. So why is he called "The Scalper", why, he scalped people of course! The duo then get a hold of his clients list and become toupee salesmen who get caught up in a whole lot of things. From there, madcap comedy and all sorts of zaniness ensues.

This is a movie that won't appeal to everyone, but if you give it a chance you may like it. The humor varies from plain old slapstick to one-liners, and I found much of the scenarios to be really unique and pretty original. Again, people are either going to like what's here or will dislike it. It can be pretty entertaining, however, sometimes I was a little bit bored. The film's pace is a bit uneven. Sometimes it really picks up while other times it moves slowly.

Barry McEvoy, who stars in the movie and wrote the script based on some of his family's experiences, creates an interesting atmosphere and backdrop with his screenplay. He does create likeable characters, a very unique brand of humor that is hit and miss usually (as I mentioned before, and actually hits a lot more then misses) and an interesting plotline. I guess my problems with the script is that it tries to make some sort of statement within all the zaniness but never gets the message fully across. Also, I mentioned before I was a bit bored at times. If the movie had a little more structure to it, I think I would have liked it a bit more. I think it needed more development in some key areas, that's all.

The acting here is certainly good. McEvoy and O'Byrne have great chemistry together, while the supporting performances really bring this movie to life. This is a fine ensemble, and even a good appearance by Billy Connolly (who I like) as "The Scalper". I also enjoyed Hans Zimmer's light musical score which fits into the film perfectly.

Barry Levinson directed this movie and he does a pretty decent job. I mentioned the movie's pace which he could have tighten, but overall he brings a nice style to the movie. This is a movie that I wouldn't think he would direct, but hey, he did and does a good job with the material. While this movie was ignored by audiences in the several theaters it was released and Dreamworks certainly didn't help that, check it out. You may be surprised how much you like this movie. I can see a movie like this gaining a cult audience on video over time.

"An Everlasting Piece" is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. It's not one of Dreamworks' best transfers, but it is good for what it is. Colors are well saturated, detail is good and blacks are pretty deep. However, the main problem I had with this transfer is that can be a bit soft at times, not to mention it can be a little fuzzy too (mostly in the night scenes). Little annoyances such as scratches, dirt and blemishes do pop up. Some noise and shimmering is also present in some scenes. Not reference quality material, but an overall good transfer.

Dreamworks has included English Dolby Digital 5.1, English DTS 5.1 and English Dolby Surround tracks with this release. This isn't a surround type of a movie, but there are still some nice sounds to light up the channels. Zimmer's score sounds particuarly good and thorough, while key elements like rain and dogs barking bring a subtle punch to the mix. Limited .1 LFE extension is featured, but when used it is pretty decent. The Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 pretty much sound the same, there's no real key differences, but if I had to choose, it'd be DTS. There's more of a tighter edge to it. This movie is pretty much dialogue driven, and dialogue sounds clear and crisp, never muffled or overpowered by other sounds in all the tracks. Overall, a fine job with the sound for a movie like this. English subtitles are also included.

Hmm, I guess it's no surprise Dreamworks has only included a Theatrical Trailer (Dolby Digital 5.1), Production Notes (also included in the keep case insert) and Cast and Filmmakers Biographies. They screwed this movie during the theatrical release, so who knows if they didn't want to be bothered doing a full blown out DVD. Besides, if they had some people doing a commentary and going on who and what happened to them rather then the movie, it wouldn't look that good for the studio. On a different note, this movie features some good animated menus.

"An Everlasting Piece" was killed off by Dreamworks, but if you had a desire to see it you should check it out. While the transfer and audio are average, and the supplements are certainly lackluster, it's worth a rental. However, for a nearly 27 dollar retail price, it's a little bit hard to reccomend unless you've seen this movie and loved it. Perhaps once the lawsuit is settled and everything, this is a title Dreamworks may want to revisit (hopefully if a commentary is provided it wouldn't be too nasty).

(3.5/5 - NOT included in final score)




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