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Quality Of Life [2004] [DVD]

Lane Garrison , Brian Burnam , Benjamin Morgan    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
Price: £3.84 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Lane Garrison, Brian Burnam, Luis Saguar, MacKenzie Firgens, Fred Pitts
  • Directors: Benjamin Morgan
  • Producers: Benjamin Morgan, Meika Rouda, Brant Smith
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Lace Group
  • DVD Release Date: 7 Jan 2008
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000XJL82W
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 154,659 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

By day, graffiti writers "Heir" and "Vain" work their dead-end day jobs, while at night they inhabit the underground graffiti world of San Francisco's Mission District. After a clash with the law, they find their lives spinning out of control with potentially explosive consequences. This powerfully affecting film offers a rare glimpse into the graffiti subculture, where the two young writers struggle to maintain their friendship as their lives unravel and the cops close in.

Review

"Finally there is a film that honors the writing culture...smart and beautiful enough to be a great film, not just `a graffiti movie.'" -- ZEPHYR

"SKILLFUL STORYTELLING" -- THE NEW YORK TIMES

"Well-acted, sharply observed and authentically gritty." -- NEW YORK MAGAZINE

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Rowena Hoseason HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a gritty coming of age movie, which features a group of stand-out performances from the main characters. One of those characters is the city itself, a landscape of urban despair illuminated only by the (ilegal) murals of the graffiti artists.

Older viewers in particular may struggle with the first act, which establishes our two rebellious teenage/twenty characters in their mundane, inescapable life of drudgery. Their only excitement and expression comes from their nocturnal exploits as they risk fines, community service and eventually prison to keep on spraying their souls on the walls of the city. The dialogue is typical teenager and us oldies (ahem) will feel a bit baffled by the mumbling and cursing, punctuated by extreme noise and what appears to be a slackers' lifestyle, devoid of purpose or development.

But Quality of Life is far more than that. The supporting cast (a father, a girlfriend and her son, a role model) turn out amazing performances -- the dad in particular has a stand out turn where he lectures his lad on his criminal behavious and it's like listening to de Niro or Pacino in full Casino/Goodfellas mode!
The plot gradually reveals that there is hope in this situation; that there is always a way to leave the ghetto. It also shows the flipside; that the centre can unravel really fast, and that you can go from being a little bit out of control to being over the edge in the blink of an eye.
The soundtrack also settles down, and uses current music and more traditional themes to emphasise and puntuate the film's themes of isolation, aggression, despair and redemption.

So if you're tempted to turn off after 10 minutes: don't. Stick with it. Quality of Life is well worth watching for its performances and a glimpse of the life of the graffiti kids. It doesn't say anything particularly original (Clockers springs to mind), but that doesn't deny the strength of its message.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A genuinely interesting take on youth culture 25 Sep 2009
By Heather VINE VOICE
Format:DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Quality of Life, as a true low-budget indie, is a remarkably polished film. Chronicling the lives of two Frisco graff writers (Vain and Heir) as their encounters with the law place strain on their friendship and ambitions, the movie takes a penetrating look at those involved in the underground graffiti movement, as well as their place in society.

While one character, Heir, considers straightening out his life by getting involved in advertising, bringing to light the difficulties involved in such a transition, his friend, Vain, unwilling to let go of the "bombing" lifestyle, heads into a tailspin, that eventually explodes in the film's powerful climax.

Despite the serious nature of the film, the movie has a lot of funny moments, which prevent it from being overbearing. The characters- artists at a crossroads- are complex and interesting, and a good balance, the more volatile Vain complementing the more level-headed Heir. Aesthetically, the cinematography, which mirrors the grittiness of the Frisco graff scene, is beautiful in its abrasiveness, and the soundtrack, featuring bay area emcees like Andre Nikatina and Top Ramen, helps set the mood. There's also some pretty cool fight scenes and the tags are top notch. I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone interested in hip hop culture.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty, authentic and mind blowing 15 Jan 2008
By D. Provias VINE VOICE
Format:DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Not since Thirteen have I seen such an honest and authentic portrayal of urban youth. The film follows two young graffiti artists. While one tries to pull himself out of poverty and crime, the other sinks deeper and deeper into a world of drugs and violence until he can't see the end of it.

Shot in true graffiti form, the production company had no money making this and I was amazed to learn that they shot in open locations without closing them off and the cast and crew had to find all sorts of innovative ways to make the film without money. The bonus features, which are definitely worth watching, include a rather hilarious moment when one of the stars is in the kitchen with the crew trying to make fake blood using oreo cookies among other things.

Don't let all that fool you however as the production values are great and the acting truly merits awards. Until I watched the bonus features, I thought this was a relatively big budget film.

Whether you're a fan of independent films or not and whether you have any insight to graffiti culture or are completely new to the subject, this film is one you just can't miss.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mean Streets with spray paint 11 Feb 2008
By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Quality of Life is another indie in the Mean Streets mould, updated for the street graffiti generation, with Lane Garrison starting to outgrow his friend Brian Burnham's arrested adolescence and look for something more in life. As such there are no real surprises or insights, though it is better than it sounds even if you have seen it all before. The film briefly raises the notion that graffiti is a way for the poor to be heard, but it never really explores the pros and cons of it as a form of cultural expression or an act of vandalism, and it doesn't help that the tags are so depressingly ugly and unimaginative. Yet the film holds the attention for its 84 minutes thanks to some good performances even if it never manages to be as moving or insightful as it aspires to be.

Shot on video there are sporadic problems with the transfer but the raw look for once suits this particular material, and the DVD comes with a surprisingly good selection of extras for a no-budget film - commentary, deleted scenes and making of featurette.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good independent movie
This isn't a film about graffiti, it's a film about life and boredom and how having an interest can get misinterpreted as a "passion". Read more
Published on 15 Aug 2009 by J. Baldwin
1.0 out of 5 stars A strange sub-culture
Being at least 30 years too old for this film I asked my arty street-wise daughter to help me. She does relate to this culture but, like me was not engaged by this film. Read more
Published on 16 April 2009 by I. N. Terry
2.0 out of 5 stars Really did not like this
If you are going to glorify vandalism that trashes the urban space for its other users who have to endure the mess that is made, then at least you could ask questions that consider... Read more
Published on 26 Mar 2009 by SH_
3.0 out of 5 stars Well made but are you interested?
Its surprisingly well made for an indie film, but its hard to care about the subject matter. The underground graffiti movement is a bit of a niche topic and I was probably a tad... Read more
Published on 21 Nov 2008 by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible
Absolutely hateful film about absolutely hateful people who think they have a right to desecrate the space that the rest of us live in. Appalling.
Published on 23 Aug 2008 by SH_
4.0 out of 5 stars "Each grain of sand has to find its perfect place."
'Quality Of Life' is a modern-day fable about growing up, accepting responsibilities & finding your place in the world. Read more
Published on 23 July 2008 by Sam Woodward
4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty real life style film
A film with a good moral and a target audience of youngsters. It has a bit of a slow start and you begin to question the quality of the film but it improves and holds your... Read more
Published on 17 July 2008 by Robert Hardie
3.0 out of 5 stars Quality of Life - Not bad, not great
Quality of Life is a remarkably well polished film for one with such a low budget. Following the lives of two graffiti artists(Vain and Heir) as their encounters with the cops... Read more
Published on 27 Jun 2008 by M. Young
2.0 out of 5 stars OK but not special
The 'youth movie' is a very overdone genre and this addes little. Some hope from the performances of the main players but nothing we haven't seen before.
Published on 27 Jun 2008 by m
4.0 out of 5 stars Heir And Vain
I've never really liked Graffiti, it's often rather menacing in it's layout and has a rather boldness I never really liked, but still, this movie I did like, not sure why, but I... Read more
Published on 19 May 2008 by DL Productions UK
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