No doubt the marketing team for this one loves the critics who gleefully made comparisons to The Hangover. It’s doing their job for them, although not entirely incorrect. White Wedding is about a man who needs to take the traditional movie road trip to make it to his wedding, and that’s where all those comparisons come back to Earth.
The film benefits greatly from the South African photography and tradition. It’s not shy with its history either, two best friends ending up in a bar still believing in the horrors of apartheid. It adds a layer to the film that’s not exactly expected from what appears to be a breezy comedy, and again, not much like The Hangover.
This is a rather plodding film, as we travel with Elvis (Kenneth Nkosi) and Tony (Mbulelo Grootboom) to meet up with Elvis’ fiancee Ayanda (Zandile Msutwana). The misadventures that ensue feel somewhat contrived, discussions of past relationships cheaply breaking down in mistrust and other high school level drama. White Wedding is hardly natural or energetic.
It has those brief flashes where it’s supposed to work. Elvis and Tony inadvertently pick up a hitchhiker Rose (Jodie Whitaker), leading to a lively conversation about what to do with her. The same thing happens when they pick up a goat, a gift for the wedding, leading to another disaster that slows them down. The energy from the capable actors is addictive in these brief flashes, unfortunately few and far between.
Everyone here is likable, while their characters just sort of flounder. Emotions are not what this movie needs, and you feel less than sorry for them as most of the time, their own actions lead to the increasing lateness. White Wedding needs a push, some chaos, and livelier characters to go along with those gorgeous backdrops and peeks at life in an often neglected area of the planet for filmmakers.
White Wedding was shot digitally, something this AVC encode from Image has no problems with. The minute level of noise visible, only confined to certain scenes in low light, is a minuscule problem. This is a bright movie, loaded with naturally saturated color and believable flesh tones. Contrast never runs hot or becomes stuck blotting out detail.
High-fidelity texture is its strongest suit for sure, the exquisite level of facial definition on display magnificent. While it may not hold as firmly at a distance or where some of the female characters are concerned, rest assured that the general consistency is more than pleasing to the videophile eye. The heated conditions lead to some fairly sweaty faces, for better or worse reproducing those droplets without fault. Pores, pot marks, and scars are wonderfully defined and crisp.
Minimally invasive softness is noted, the worst of it coming during a brief prayer session at 1:17:20, an issue that is quick to pass. Regardless of the lighting conditions, there is little other indication that this is a digital source other than the clarity and lack of grain. It’s all of the benefits, including those stunningly sharp views of the coast and towns, with few of the flaws.
Where black levels usually falter in digital, here they’re extravagant and rich. Maybe a little too much so, because unlike the well handled contrast, the black levels tend to take some of the shadow detail with them. In a rare moment where they fail to hold, it’s not the end of the world, just a flash in which the dimensionality suffers.
There’s not any major action to dissect here, that aside from one gunshot that is so minimalistic it seems forgotten within the mix. Dialogue is prioritized within this stable, solid DTS-HD affair. Conversations taking place in a variety of locations are consistent, an echo inside a bathroom briefly the only variation on the standard.
There’s a ton of ambiance though, whoever handled the sound design really focused on keeping viewers in the middle of these situations. The airport behind the credits is alive with intercom calls and chatter, while a restaurant not long after carries clanging dishes with light guest conversations. Insects and birds dot the outdoors, and cars are quite persistent in terms of how they track as they pass. It’s subtle but impressive.
The only extra is a theatrical trailer.
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