Rat Tamer (The)
R1 - America - Echo Bridge Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Pat Pilon (28th November 2006).
The Show

Five or so years before he was Wolverine, Hugh Jackman had a role on the 10-episode Australian TV show called 'Correlli'. Echo Bridge have taken the first episode of the series and released it on DVD. The title, 'The Rat Tamer', superficially refers to the psychologist in a prison. She tries to take the bite out of the rats in prison, I suppose.

The meandering focus follows Dr. Louisa Correlli as she tries to help out a police offer who's nerves are about to be ripped apart, as well as trying to figure out why Hugh Jackman is bruised and suffering from brain damage, which is strange because he wasn't suffering bruised and suffering from brain damage at his hearing. Surprise of surprise, maybe the two have a connection.

For a psychologist, though, she's kind of blind to things that happen around her. I have a psych degree, just like she does (and I'm far younger, so supposedly less wise and world-weary) and even I could see a few blatantly obvious things: that police officer is close to the edge and really does need help; a lot of the (maximum security) inmates don't care about much and so, for them, telling the truth and trying to be helped wouldn't be on their list of priorities.

Once again, you're stuck with some inmates that you really wouldn't expect to be there. Apart from being a completely superfluous character (which I'll get to in a moment), Ian Johnson seems like a nice guy. Why he'd find himself in a prison (maximum security or not) is somewhat of a mystery. Sure he drinks, but he's in with a crowd much rougher than he is.

This character, though, in the overall plot, serves little purpose. In the series, I'm sure more time is devoted to his character and a the end of the series everything he does gels, but as a movie, his presence is mystifying. He doesn't really do much. All he does is put the visitation day at Christmas in peril, but this is quickly resolved, and the movie moves on to its main part. It seems like his character is in only one other episode, and this is really a bad sign of writing. This means that he's in this episode solely to advance the plot, and serves no other purpose.

The rest of the show/movie is okay. The focus is a bit weird, although I'm sure that at the end of the series all the characters are well drawn. As it is, there's a lot of superficiality going on. It's the start of something and you only get the introduction. These people are real (if a bit naïve), but you can see their potential. More shows would give them more chances to expand, and by the end they might be interesting people.

The reveal at the end is completely pointless. As an end to a TV show, it's okay, because you know you'll see the next part in seven days time. As a movie, it's rather silly as an ending, because unless there's a second part, it's just a big tease. The only real interesting part of this entire show is the last 30 seconds. As such, I want to see the next part, but not because I want to know all the characters, I just want to know what happens to one character. So, whatever bad things I've said about the show, it's compelling enough for me to want to watch the next episode.


1.33:1 full frame. Originally shot for TV, this looks just like a TV show would. The colours are slightly faded, the details aren't perfect and the contrast is good enough. The picture is good enough - the colours don't flicker and are accurate enough. The compression is fair, with no murky areas, even given the many darker scenes. The video has a bit of grain, but it's nothing bad and is in synch with the movie. It's an okay picture. Remember, though, to be fair, because this is a TV show, I saw this on my tube TV.


Presented in English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo, the track is good enough. All the dialogue is clear and clean, and the accents come through clearly. The music and effects are likewise clear, and their volumes are well mixed. The audio does sound a bit flat, though, but this movie/show isn't one that's too intensive, and so the sound seems fine.


The DVD has no extras, though here are a few start up trailers that are only seen before the main menu: 'Beer League' (3:18), 'Disaster Zone: Volcano in New York' (1:28), 'Obsession' (1:29) and 'School for Seduction' (1:54). The trailers all sell their movie reasonably well, and you know what to expect from the movie.


The Show: C Video: C+ Audio: B- Extras: F Overall: C-


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