expect a typical point-of-view from British director Ken Loach.
Loach looks at segments of society often neglected by the camera
lens. He comes from a documentarian background dominated by
a humanist philosophy. Raining Stones is a mix of
drama and comedy, but the laughs come out of character
desperation, and their echoes ring hollow on the realization of
the plight of these people.
to make a pound. ©Fox Lorber
Bob Williams is a family man on the fringe of economic survival
in Manchester, England. Like many Brits, Bob's on the
"dole," the weekly check provided to out of work
citizens. It's not that Bob doesn't want to work. He's really
rather desperate for a job, but he can't quite get it right. In
fact, Bob is a solid family man lost in a jungle of cold stone.
Life comes crashing in on Bob with the approaching first
communion of his daughter. He wants her to have a special outfit
for the service and the money is beyond what he and his wife can
scrape together. She's more realistic about it, but Bob is
determined. He's clinging to a last bit of dignity and pride,
but his desperation gets the family in deeper trouble than they
Loach's gifts is the love he shows for these characters. He can
laugh at their foibles without making fun of them. Considering
the director's filmmaking style, you'd expect a colder attitude,
but happily, that is not the case.
Loach directs in a simple and direct approach. What you see is
what you see. There are no fancy camera angles, just folks
living out their everyday existence. But the director sure does
know how to mine a source for material. With effortless strokes,
Loach involves you with his characters. You care about them,
worry about their obvious mistakes and sweat the consequences
Loach's cinema-verite style of shooting movies doesn't bode well
for sharp, detailed DVDs. Raining Stones is no exception. It's a
very grainy looking film, and often the resolution is less than
optimum. It's likely that this is the result of the original
camera element. Colors are fine and saturation is okay. Contrast
is less pumped than I like. Some night detail is a bit hidden.
Overall, I think the DVD replicates the look Loach wanted for
Raining Stones, and I guess that is the most important measure
of the DVD. sound is Dolby two channel, with little surround
information. The Stewart Copeland score lacks full blown range.
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