Lost Highway (Blu-ray) (1997)
Menu Animation & Audio
Interviews-Crew-David Lynch (2005 & 1996)
Interviews-Cast-Bill Pullman, Patricia Arquette, Robert Loggia
|Year Of Production||1997|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||David Lynch|
Natasha Gregson Wagner
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 (2304Kb/s)
French DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 (2304Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.40:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Sometimes described as a post-modern horror film, director David Lynch‘s Lost Highway is every bit as disturbing now as it was when I first watched it. A precursor in many ways to his latter and more famous film Mulholland Dr., this film is in many ways more obscure and for that reason requires more patience to enjoy.
As with many of his films, Lost Highway is an examination of the real and the perceived, the latter usually involving some form of fantasy or alternatively a perception as distorted by mental illness. The story is a seemingly complex one, but at the same time relatively straightforward once you accept the central narrator as a completely unreliable narrator and much of the world he creates to be a fiction to prevent himself from understanding his own insanity.
Fred Madison (Bill Pullman) plays saxophone in an experimental jazz band. He believes that his wife, Renee (Patricia Arquette), is having an affair with an old associate, but his life begins to get much stranger once unmarked video tapes of the inside of the Madison's house start showing up on their front doorstep, and Fred meets an unnamed Mystery Man (Robert Blake) at a party. One more slip and Fred is down the rabbit hole in a world of mixed identity, self-deception and murder.
That plot description makes Lost Highway sound more straightforward than it actually is and many have described Lost Highway in terms similar to its successor – that of a dream that requires interpretation. As with Mulholland Dr., Lynch uses various soft filter focuses as cues and guidelines between reality and deception, and also to assist in determining the true sequence of events, which is not apparently that depicted.
In the end, Lost Highway is a nightmare journey best experienced than described, and it is well worth the trip.
Shot on 35mm film, Lost Highway has been transferred to a BD50 in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. This is slightly off from its original aspect ratio of 2.39:1.
Encoded at a resolution 1080p in MPEG-4 AVC encode with a rough bit rate of between 18 and 22 Mbps, the picture quality is far above any previous DVD release.
Lost Highway is a dark film – very dark. Yet the picture is excellent and well detailed. The image is softer in the sequences where Lynch is using filters, but there is still definite film grain here and far more detail than I have seen from this film, most importantly in those numerous night shots.
The colour is rich, although the colour palette used in the film is subdued with few bright colours. The characters are often wearing black, brown or white, so the odd flash of colour is particularly noticeable when it occurs.
Shadow detail is excellent, with no flat blacks or macro blocking in shadows, but rather the grainy darkness that is true of the original film source.
There were no film or film-to-video artefacts that I spotted.
Subtitles are available in French only – likely the result of the source for this transfer being the French Region B release.
Originally recorded with a Dolby Digital Theatre Surround mix, the Blu-Ray is released with a 5.1 mix in DTS-HD Master Audio at 48kHz and an average bit rate of 2.2Mbps that seems very faithful to the original source.
The audio is the best audio release this film has ever had. It is not exactly demonstration material, but it serves the source material well particularly the various choices of industrial, jazz and rock music from the soundtrack playing a key ingredient for setting the tone for the film.
Dialogue is clear and easy to understand in those scenes where it is meant to be understood. Always forward and intelligible, although, as mentioned, at times it is overpowered by the music, which was a stylistic intention of Lynch. Indeed, the whole film is designed to be played loud, which results in certain parts of the soundtrack being hair-raisingly loud by comparison to the rest of the audio.
The soundstage is front driven, but the surrounds and the subwoofer do come to life in particular key moments such as Fred and Renee watching the videotapes and the prison “morphing” scene.
All up, this is a well put together soundtrack, with plenty of atmospherics.
|Surround Channel Use|
The start-up menu is presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced with a 2.0 DTS-HD MA soundtrack.
Presented in 2.0 DTS-HD MA, 1.33:1, these are interviews with the director and cast from around the time the movie was being made and promoted.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
As at the date of this review, there is no US release of this Blu-ray. However, there is a French EU release, a German EU release, a Japanese release and a UK release.
The UK release by Universal has audio in a PCM 2.0, and a video transfer that is in the right aspect ratio of 2.39:1 but at 50 frames interlaced, instead of the 24 frames progressive of the French and German releases.
The French and German releases look to have the same video transfer as this version, but the German release offers German DTS-HD 5.1 audio as well and is Region Free rather than its Region B-locked French counterpart.
The Japanese version is a 3-disc release that is rumoured to have the correct aspect ratio, but limited details are available as to what audio is on the disc and what special features are available.
The French version has the same special features as the Australia release and I would suggest that the Australian release is merely a ported over version of the French release, right down to the French subtitles.
Lost Highway is a twisted journey into the mind of insanity – it requires patience and attention, but both will be rewarded with a dark nightmare of a film. The Blu-ray is an excellent transfer, and by far the best release this film has had for home video. Highly recommended.
|DVD||PlayStation 3 160GB with HDMI 1.4a, using HDMI output|
|Display||Samsung 64" Plasma PN64E8000 (this device is 3D capable). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Marantz SR6006 Receiver, Rotel RB-1552 and Rotel RMB-1565|
|Speakers||Wharfedale Diamond 10.2 fronts, wide-fronts, and rears, Wharfedale Diamond 10.CM centre, Velodyne MicroVee Subwoofer|