One Less God (2017) (NTSC)

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Released 5-Dec-2018

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama None
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2017
Running Time 132:13
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Lliam Worthington
Studio
Distributor

Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Joseph Mahler Taylor
Sukhraj Deepak
Mihika Rao
Kabir Singh
Kieran Kumar
Nathan Kaye
Martelle Hammer
Reilly O’Byrne Inglis
Igor Kreyman
Nicole Fantl
Jan Langford-Penny
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI ? Music Thomas E Roach


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     In November 2008 in both coordinated and random attacks Islamic terrorists from Pakistan targeted 12 sites in and around Mumbai, including the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, killing 166 people and injuring hundreds more during four days. One Less God focuses on two of the terrorists, the not all that bright country boy Yaaseen (Kabir Singh) and the more motivated Ahmad (Kieran Kumar), Indian grandfather (Sukhraj Deepak) and his granddaughter (Mihika Rao) and a diverse group of foreigners, American (Joseph J.U. Taylor), British (Joseph Mahler Taylor), French (Martelle Hammer), Turkish siblings (Reilly O’Byrne Inglis, Igor Kreyman), Chinese (Quintin Yung) and Australian (Nathan Kaye, Jan Langford-Penny, Nicole Fantl), who end up trapped in one room together as the terrorists systematically go through the hotel killing any guests or staff they find.

     The attack was a well-planned event for which the Indian authorities were ill-prepared and slow to respond, condemning innocent people to be trapped in hotel rooms for days, fearful of their lives as gunshots and explosions reverberated around the hotel and events played out on television screens in their hotel rooms and around the world. The subject matter is horrendous but very relevant to today’s world. One Less God is a reconstruction of the terrible events, a subject obviously close to the heart of Australian first time filmmaker Lliam Worthington who was writer / director / producer / editor / SFX coordinator / additional cameraman on the project. However, while some of the film is tense and powerful, and has aspirations to say something important about love, life, death and religion, a firmer hand was needed at some point as the film’s pacing and focus is loose and uneven, reducing its dramatic impact.

     One Less God is a long film, running 134 minutes with credits. For much of the running time the pace is leisurely; except for a sequence as the terrorists shoot into the crowded dining room and the kitchen and a couple of others, most of the action takes place off camera and we only hear the shots and explosions. The film also frequently pauses for conversations on a mobile between Yaaseen and his handler in Pakistan, conversations between Yaaseen and Ahmad, mobile phone conversations between Frenchwoman Claire and her editor / lover in France, and conversations of various types and intensities between the foreigners trapped together in the one room; some of those feel quite stagey and if the intention is to give personalities to the various people trapped in the room, it does not really work; as there are too many ill-defined individuals so mostly we don’t get to know sufficiently well to be effected by their fates. There are also a another, different, set of conversations between the Hindu Grandfather and his granddaughter in their own separate room and these are some of the best parts of the film allowing us to understand and care for these two people in a way that the various conversations between the foreigners don’t. As well, the film also adds a false climax and some hope with about 40 minutes still to run, but when the real climax happens it is abrupt and very sudden after the slow previous pacing.

     One Less God is well-meaning and even handed; the terrorists are not monsters although they do monstrous and terrible things. However, this is a sad and down-beat film with people trapped and awaiting help, or death; there are no Die Hard heroics or heroes, no last minute arrival of the cavalry with blazing guns to disperse the terrorists, no real resolution, only tragedy, which may indeed be the nature of life at present when so many people have lost their humanity. And what the film does not really cover, which could have been interesting, is why the army and the authorities took over four days to respond.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     One Less God is presented in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. It is PAL, region free and 16x9 enhanced.

     One Less God is a low budget independent film that was shot in Australia, including in The Carrington Hotel, Katoomba, NSW, with some second unit footage in India and Nepal and added news report footage. Many of the interior scenes in the hotel are smoky and many interiors are very glary indeed with the light source directly behind the actor. Some of this is deliberate for effect, such as the sequences of the Pakistani handler on the phone to Yaaseen, but others are not. Colours in the scenes shot in Kathmandu that bookend the film are very vivid and bright, as is the sequence in the hotel pool, but elsewhere they are quite muted. Blacks are solid, shadow detail fine, skin tones natural, brightness and contrast does vary due to the glare. I did not see any obvious marks or artefacts.

    The layer change at 61:02 resulted in a slight pause at a scene change.

     No English subtitles are provided but smallish cream subtitles automatically translate the sections of Urdu, Hindi and French dialogue.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
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Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The audio is English Dolby Digital 5.1 mono at 384 Kbps.

     Dialogue was clear enough. In the sequence where the terrorists shoot up the crowded dining room and the kitchen the surrounds and rears are used for gunshots, explosions, debris, voices but often the gunshots are heard off screen by the people hiding in the room. Elsewhere, with its extensive dialogue segments, this is not a very enveloping audio track and the subwoofer is little used. The music by Thomas E Roach mixes Western and Asian themes and the sound design adds electronic heart beat type effects to add to the tension.

    Lip synchronisation is fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     Nothing. The programme commences when the DVD loads.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     This Australian PAL Region Free release of One Less God is the only one currently listed on sales sites.

Summary

     One Less God is a worthy film on an important topic; when extremists kill innocents, including children, in the name of religion, the answer could be that we need less religion, at least “one less god”, and more love and tolerance. However, the film is too long and in trying to explore a diverse range of people and attitudes it does lose its focus and its dramatic impact.

     The video and audio are fine. No extras.

     As so often happens, two films about the same subject were produced around the same time. It will be interesting to see how the other film, a joint Australian / Indian coproduction shot mostly in Adelaide, Hotel Mumbai

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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