Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 16th, 2016
Theatrical Release Date: Australia, 2015
Director: Joseph Sims-Dennett
Writers: Joseph Sims-Dennett, Josh Zammit
Cast: Lindsay Farris, Stephanie King, Brendan Cowell, John Jarratt, Benedict Hardie, Tom O’Sullivan, Roger Ward
BluRay released: August 2nd, 2016
Approximate running times: 86 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Artsploitation Films
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.99
Synopsis: A private investigator reluctantly takes on a job while he is still in mourning the death of his son. What starts off as a routine stake out of a woman who lives across the street quickly takes on a darker tone the further he delves into the case.
Don’t judge a book by its cover! This time old saying perfectly sums up Observance, a psychological thriller that initially sets itself up as a voyeur themed thriller in the tradition of films like Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, Roman Polanski’s The Tenant and Brian De Palma’s Body Double. Fortunately, there is so much more to this film and the end result is something that transcends all of its inspirations.
The opening act is spent establishing who all the main players are? Then the second act shifts ever so slightly as things start to go awry for this film’s protagonist the private investigator. It is also during this middle section of the film that this film will have you questioning your own grip on reality. Everything culminates with a final act which brings together for the first time face to face the protagonist and the woman he has been watching. Needless to say, this film finale is a very satisfying payoff.
From a production stand point there are not many areas where this film does not excel. The film’s features a well-constructed narrative and pacing is never an issues as this film does a great job letting key moments fully resonate. Another strength of this film are its atmospheric visuals which do a remarkable job in reinforcing the sinister mood of the film.
Performance wise the cast are more than hold their own in their respective roles. With this film’s most standout performance coming from Lindsay Farris in the role of private eye named Parker. Another performance of note is Stephanie King in the role of Tenneal, the woman who is being watched.
Observance comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. This film has very distinct look and this transfer does a superb job retaining it. Also black levels remain strong throughout and there are no issues with DNR compression.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English and removable English SDH subtitles have been included with this release. This film relies heavily on mood and this audio mix does a great job when it comes to the more ambient aspects of this film’s soundtrack. Also dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced.
Extras for this release include a three-minute preface to Observance with comments about the film from Lindsay Farris and Stephanie King. Other extras include trailers for other titles available or soon to be released by Artsploitation Films.
Overall Observance gets a solid audio / video presentation from Artsploitation Films.
Note: Artsploitation Films are also releasing this film on DVD.