"SPEAKEASY" may win some fans of independent films, but even the most ardent supporters will probably find it hard to be overly impressed, but equally hard to walk away from. It aspires to make a statement about the human condition, but it does so in the subtlest of terms. Unfortunately, it's too subtle and the film isn't directed tightly enough to move the audience with the impact it intends to.
David Strathairn is quite good in his role as Bruce, a musician who spends much of his life taking care of a deaf father-in-law, completely dismissed by his wife. A fateful incident introduces Ben to Frank, a pawn shop owner with a deaf daughter. The two men forge a bond together, and mysteries of the past are revealed as the two also try finding hope and peace in their individual and newly formed lives.
Originally developed as part of Matt Damon/Ben Affleck's "project Greenlight" search, the film's been shelved for several years. It came in behind "STOLEN SUMMER" which actually won that year's prize. It's not as good as "STOLEN SUMMER" and even that film was extremely flawed.
The dvd presents a 1.85:1 aspect ratio with 16:9 enhancement. Unfortunately, the image is marred with grain and colors are often too dull, making the film's low budget even more obvious.
A dolby digital 5.1 mix is included. Being a dialogue-driven film, the mix doesn't call for a noticeable surround mix. But, there are some surround moments. Dialogue is always intelligible and free from distortion.