Nuns on the Run

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Christopher Bligh

Plot: What’s it about?

In the late seventies, it seemed like a film from the troupe known as Monty Python might not see the light of day if it were not for a saving grace in the form of former Beatle George Harrison. He lead a independent film company known as Handmade Films and with his help, films like Monty Python and the Life of Brian and Time Bandits became possible and turned out to be successful as well. Director Jonathan Lynn and Python member Eric Idle would re-team with Harrison for one more film that consists of heists, a chance of escape and a force of habits in the literal form of Nuns on the Run.

Charlie (Robbie Coltrane) and Brian (Eric Idle) are unhappy with their status as a gangster’s older assistants. When their life of crime takes an unexpected turn, they plot on their next job to be for themselves and not the people they represent. Things look clear as day until Brian falls in love for a waitress named Faith (Camille Coduri) and their situation grows more complicated when their job leads them to a convent where our duo stays in hiding and disguise themselves as nuns to keep themselves unnoticed from their former associates and the police. But even a convent can share it’s share of complications more so than the outside world.

This viewer remembers this film fondly as one of many that is played in few theatres and disappears a few weeks later for a video release many months later. My curiosity led to seeing the film in my area where it played for two weeks and from that point on, I became a huge fan of the film as it retained a fast pace, a slight bit of escapism and plenty of laughs thanks to the great team of Eric Idle and Robbie Coltrane.

Both actors have great moments on their own as well as together with the complications of plotting an escape along with suspicion for their valuable pair of luggage. Another great component of this film is the unique dynamic score by groups Yello (prominently featured in Ferris Bueller) and Hidden Faces. With it’s constant beats, there is much to love both in the score and the writing of the film by it’s director Jonathan Lynn who would go on to comedic success with My Cousin Vinny.

The more times I’ve seen this film, the more I feel that the English humor along with the complication that comes in between it crack me up a great deal and being that it’s been around for more than five years, in my eyes gains the status of a comedy classic with a theme that has been used many times before given the charm from Great Britain with a little help from a Monty Pythoner paired up with a solid comic presence that is Robbie Coltrane. With it’s “Fish Called Wanda” camera shots and it’s steady pace, Nuns on the Run is worth a zip or two around the track leaving you out of breath from hilarity.

Video: How does it look?

Nuns on the Run gets it’s very first widescreen treatment in any medium on this DVD anamorphically in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio and the results have a slight bit of eighties haze but not too distracting as the print has slight flaws in a few specks or two but nothing hurting the picture quality with it’s multi-color title sequence and it’s color use without any flaunting saturation or bleeding. Nuns on the Run has a decent look as well as a nice clarity balance for a film from the early nineties with a bit of visual that can be mistaken for an eighties film.

Audio: How does it sound?

The Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround track is a great one retaining the outer channel laserdisc dynamic of the kinetic score along with keeping the dialogue clear on all channels. The only minor wrinkle is the slight mutedness of the dialogue. While it keeps a solid track from the outer channels with effects and music, the center channels carry the dialogue decently but should have a quality that should be better in a recent film such as this one. This also carries an Anchor Bay flaw of no subtitles on the disc.

Supplements: What are the extras?

With the dynamic duo of Anchor Bay and Fox on this title, Nuns on the Run gets a just right amount of extras kicked off by an audio commentary by writer/director Jonathan Lynn. His chat is most reminiscent about his filming economically on a comedy of this caliber as well as much backstory surrounding the making of the film and how the film became a reality and followed a few amusing titles before it ended up as Nuns on the Run. It’s an entertaining listen despite a few gaps and Lynn recollects very nicely amongst all aspect of the film.

Also, there is an amusing six minute featurette with interviews of members of the church as well as actor Eric Idle.
It’s a decent congratulatory piece with an amusing story about Idle’s co-star Robbie Coltrane.

Finally, there are two TV spots as well as the film’s theatrical trailer making great use of Steve Winwood’s song “Roll With It” (which incidentally ended up on the film’s soundtrack, yet it is not used in any part of the film).

Nuns on the Run provides many laughs and many complications that sum up a very funny movie and a short but sweet DVD.

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