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    DVD Video - Reviews [Broken Vessels]


    Broken Vessels

    Release Date:

    Studio: A-Pix
    Year: 1999
    Run Time: 92 minutes
    Rating: R
    Starring: James Hong, Todd Field, Jason London, Roxana Zal, Susan Traylor, Patrick Cranshaw
    Directed by: Scott Ziehl
      Movie Summary: [Drama]

        They're an accident waiting to happen. Writer/director Scott Ziehl's kinetic first feature follows a group of Los Angeles paramedics as on the edge as the patients they try to save. When Tom Meyer (Jason London) escapes his dreary small-town life for a job in L.A. as a paramedic, he is teamed up with star ambulance driver Jimmy (Todd Field). Jimmy teaches Tom the tricks of the trade, including showing favoritism to the police, using the equipment in unorthodox ways and scoring freebies from drug dealers. Under Jimmy's tutelage, Tom gradually loses himself in the pressure-cooker lifestyle of danger, violence, hard drugs, casual sex and petty crime.

    DVD Details
    • Widescreen: 1.85:1, Color, Stereo
    See Full Disc Details...

    Reviewer: Mike Holmes


            B roken Vessels is a film about two paramedics whose lives consist of danger, violence, drugs, casual sex and crime.

    Film Review:

    The film begins when Tom Meyer [Jason London, Dazed and Confused, Jason and the Argonauts] moves away from the small town life of Altoona, Pa. and lands a job as a paramedic in L.A. He is teamed up with his new partner Jimmy [Todd Field] and is quickly introduced to Jimmy's tricks of the trade. Tom discovers that being partners with Jimmy involves daytime lunch breaks at the local nudie bars, casual sex in the back of the ambulance, favoritism to the police, theft, scoring free drugs from cocaine dealers and junkie patients and a rather devious ways of misusing ambulance equipment, such as giving a jolt to an injured mans head with a defibrillator).

    Their free-lance lifestyle lead them to eventually becoming roommates as well as partners. Tom moves in with Jimmy after his homosexual roommate kicks him out for getting doped up and puking in his fish tank. Jimmy's neighbor Suzy [Susan Taylor] is even more doped up then the two of them combined. Suzy is a speedoholic that is so hysterical you just want to slap her silly. Suzy has one roommate who not only resides in her shed, but the eerie little troll also runs his own drug lab from there. Suzy's other roommate named Elizabeth [Roxana Zal] only lasts a few minutes before she realizes that the situation just isn't going to work out.

    Tom is introduced to Elizabeth and asks her out. The two of them date for a little while, however, Tom's "new found lifestyle" quickly puts a damper on the romance. His drugs begin taking over his life and during one depressing night of his life, he calls her for some company. Elizabeth meets him and is not at all pleased with what he's evolved into. She tells him to "clean up and seek help." Tom's idea of seeking help is translated into obtaining even harder drugs and sinking deeper into the underworld. Broken Vessels is a frightening journey through a hellish underworld of drugs, violence and casual sex. Tom and Jimmy's descent to self-destruction is visually horrifying. The overall message of the film, however, isn't much different than others which deal with the lives of drug users.

    Broken Vessels was a renowned hit at the Toronto Film Festival and was an Audience Award Winner at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival. I thought this film was good, however, it wasn't anything I hadn't seen already. We all know that "drugs are bad." This film was great at emphasizing that fact and driving it into the ground. I thought the performances from the actors were all around fantastic. I believe the story, however, lacked any sense of originality. Broken Vessels is the inherent offspring of Bringing Out The Dead and Trainspotting. It is the overall story of two men whose lives are taken over by drugs and the evils that follow. Aside from the director's vision and the actor's performances, Broken Vessels, if you get right down to it, is not a special or unique film by any means.

    DVD Review:


    Broken Vessels is presented in widescreen format 1.85:1 aspect ratio and is not enhanced for 16:9 Televisions. This film looks great and the picture quality is fantastic. The colors look bold and vivid with no graining effect seen, and flesh tones look natural as well. The shadowing of the night scenes offer high detailing and the contrast levels are very high as well.


    The audio track is featured in Dolby Digital Surround. The music is often times washed away with the overwhelming sound effects and intense moments. The sound effects are never too overpowering, however, the music track is quite limited to begin with. The dialogue is the main audio focus of this film and is clean and clear throughout.


    Broken Vessels includes Interactive Menus, Theatrical Trailer, Cast/Crew Bios, Scene Selections and a whole mess of other A-Pix Trailers. If you like to watch trailers than this disc is for you. This disc is loaded with high quality trailers that will definitely peak some interest in viewing other A-Pix films.


    No screenshots at this time.

    Individual Ratings
    Video Audio Content Movie
    7.5 7.5 4 7.5
    Ratings Based on Scale of 1 - 10 (10 being Best)

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