The Line (2007)
By: Paul Ryan on March 26, 2009  | 
DVD
Accent (Australia). All Regions, PAL. 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 2.0. 95 minutes
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Michael Adante
Starring: David Barry, Andy McPhee, David Bradshaw, Christopher Elliott
Screenplay: Michael Adante
Country: Australia
External Links
Purchase IMDB YouTube
When a prominent Asian crime figure is shot dead on City road, the Melbourne Police faces the prospect of an imminent gang war. Recently promoted Detective James Jewell (David Barry, who also co-produced) is put on the case, teamed with veteran undercover cop Mike Callis (Andy McPhee). Jewell is a methodical, by-the-book type, whilst the hard-bitten, barely-stable Callis has been breaking the rules for so long tha's it's hard to tell whose side he is on. Jewell's adherence to procedure keeps clashing with Callis' brutal, thuggish approach, making matters extremely difficult. As the investigation progesses, Jewell and Callis become entangled in a mire of corruption and violence, making it hard to tell just who the real bad guys are supposed to be…

Nothing new in terms of story, but undeniably stylish, The Line is a pretty solid cop drama. Reminiscent of dark Australian TV series such as Wildside and Phoenix, this is a tale of police corruption at its most brutal. Impressively shot on digital video by Sanne Kurz, the film is visually striking and makes extensive use of a variety of Melbourne locations.

Many familiar character actors turn up in supporting roles, with notable turns by a cast-against-type Peter Phelps (as a junkie) and John Flaus (as a convicted bikie gang leader). Vince Gil (he of Mad Max and Stone awesomeness) also turns up as a weary prison guard.

Debuting feature director Michael Adante shows real visual flair and stages some impressive chase and fight scenes. The Line hopefully serves as an indicator of good things to come from this filmmaker.
Video
Shot on digital video, this is occasionally grainy and a tad pixilated in low light, but otherwise perfectly fine.
Audio
The Dolby 2.0 audio track isn't especially showy, but is nonetheless of high technical quality.
Extra Features
There's a large amount of material here, though quantity tends to outweigh quality. First up are two featurettes on scoring the soundtrack, one devoted to the Orchestra (5:58m), the other about Percussion (11:58m). Both are done in fly-on-the-wall style, with no voiceover (as are all the featurettes on the disc) and while mildly interesting, you'll probably only watch them the once.

Next comes three casting segments. Snapshots (1:34m) is a montage of audition photos and audio from the initial casting sessions. Car-sting (1:15m) briefly shows the crew scouting car wrecks in a scrap yard for one to use in a junkyard scene. Last, and longest by a mile, is Script Read (55:40m), a compilation of audition material. Here, we see stacks of actors reading for roles in the film. Some were successful, some not, while many read here for parts other than the ones they were cast in. It's a neat idea for a featurette, but at nearly an hour, it gets a bit tedious, and would have been better much shorter.

Behind-the-Scenes (8:07m) isn't what it sounds like, and is simply b-roll footage of the filming of the jail sequence with Vince Gil and John Flaus, whilst The Junkie Sequence (2:38m) is more of the same, showing the production of Peter Phelps' cameo. What would have been great across all of these features is some commentary or interviews with the people involved. Instead, the overall effect of so much fly-on-the-wall material is one of feeling distanced from an understanding of the film, like you're watching a stranger's home movies. Sure, there's an element of interest for anyone curious about the filmmaking process, but this still feels like a missed opportunity.

Lastly, you get a rather good trailer (2:10m), along with trailers for Accent titles Pusher, Dumplings, Burke & Wills, One Last Dance, Invisible Waves and DemonsAmongUs.
The Verdict
Strikingly shot and full of brutal action, The Line is overly familiar in terms of plot and character dynamics, but is still well worth seeking out. Accent's disc is nicely put together, though the behind the scenes material needed a bit of an overhaul.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

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