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Universal Studios Home Video presents

Rory O'Shea Was Here (2004)

"Independent living allows me to grow and mature as a person."- Rory O'Shea (James McAvoy)

Stars: Romola Garai, James McAvoy, Steven Robertson
Other Stars: Brenda Fricker
Director: Damien O'Donnell

MPAA Rating: R for (language)
Run Time: 01h:44m:06s
Release Date: 2005-06-14
Genre: drama

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer


DVD Review

There's been quite a bit of positive buzz about Rory O'Shea Was Here (known internationally as Inside I'm Dancing), but I had no idea what the film was about until spinning this DVD.

We first meet Rory O'Shea (James McAvoy) as he is moving into an assistance home in Dublin, where he meets cerebral palsy victim, Michael Connolly (Steven Robertson). Michael knows that Rory is trouble from the get-go, but he grows to like him, as he is the only one that can understand his extremely mumbled speech.

Now friends, Rory and Michael manage to gain funding so that they can move out of the home and get a place of their own in the "real world", much to the dismay of Eileen (Brenda Fricker), the main caretaker. Once in their new home, the pair enlist the care of the beautiful Siobhan (Romola Garai). It's not long before Michael is in love with Siobhan, but whether she can feel the same about someone in his condition is the big question.

I'd almost forgotten what a breath of fresh air it is to go into a film knowing very little about it and just being able to take it all in for the first time. Everything works here, from the performances, to the tightly edited, heartwarming story. The main characters are unforgettable, cutting to the core of human emotion and showing us that, regardless of your troubles in life, however extreme they may be, everyone can enjoy a productive, independent existence.

While you might think you've seen this all before in pictures like My Left Foot and other projects involving the handicapped, Rory O'Shea Was Here is an original take on such a sad subject. Sure, you've got your standard physically-challenged individuals bucking the odds and making a semi-independent life for themselves, but the chemistry between McAvoy and Robertson will make you care deeply about these two people, and have you grasping for the tissue box at the same time. Director Damien O'Donnell (East Is East) does a fine job simply allowing these actors to gel on-screen, while also featuring some nice camera work and creative shots as well.

The wonderful modern rock soundtrack is another of the film's highpoints, featuring wonderful tunes from Supergrass, The Avalanches, Johnny Cash, and Elbow. While the film doesn't rest on the constant playing of this music, enough excellent songs are cued at the perfect time throughout.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: While the anamorphic 2.35:1 widescreen transfer is very impressive, it is hampered by an annoying shimmer effect that appears during far too many scenes, especially considering how new the film is. Otherwise, the urban and hospital settings are nicely captured with appropriately muted colors and well-handled shadow and contrast levels. Some of the outdoor scenes call for a bright, vivid color scheme, and this transfer delivers that as well. Fortunately, grain and dirt are kept to the bare minimum.

Image Transfer Grade: C+

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio is quite lively at times, mostly to accommodate the aforementioned excellent soundtrack. Most of the film is dialogue, though, with the crisp, clear speech blending in very well with the rest of the mix. There isn't much bass presence, but, then again, there aren't many action sequences that call for a rumbling subwoofer.

Audio Transfer Grade:

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish, French with remote access
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring The Big Lebowski: Special Edition, Northern Exposure
3 Deleted Scenes
1 Alternate Endings
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: It's too bad there aren't more extras, but, aside from a pair of trailers for other Universal Home Video releases, there are three Deleted Scenes (including an Alternate Ending) and an Extended Party Sequence. None of these really amount to anything overly interesting, but the alternate ending offers more of a glimpse at what Michael's future holds.

Extras Grade: C-

Final Comments

The combination of a genuinely touching story and a pair of truly revelatory performances by Steven Robertson and James McAvoy make Rory O'Shea Was Here a film that begs to be seen. Universal Home Video's DVD makes a wider audience possible by providing solid audio and video presentations, but only a scant few extras.

Chuck Aliaga 2005-06-29