Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992)

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Released 22-Sep-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Menu Animation & Audio
Gallery-Who?
Featurette
Featurette-Actor Clips
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1992
Running Time 129:07
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (62:11) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By David Lynch
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Sheryl Lee
Ray Wise
Mädchen Amick
Dana Ashbrook
Phoebe Augustine
David Bowie
Eric DaRe
Miguel Ferrer
Pamela Gidley
Heather Graham
Chris Isaak
Moira Kelly
Peggy Lipton
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $19.95 Music Angelo Badalamenti
David Lynch


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    If one were to make comparisons of David Lynch’s work to that of Hitchcock, it could perhaps be said that the TV series Twin Peaks is to Alfred Hitchcock Presents what Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is to VertigoLynch’s unacknowledged and yet undeniable masterpiece.

    Originally put together with the working title Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, Teresa Banks and the Last Seven Days of Laura Palmer, this title pretty much sums up the plot of the story. At the conclusion of the Twin Peaks TV series, there were many unanswered questions about who Laura Palmer was, and how her death related to the death of Teresa Banks a year earlier. Be warned, though – those of you who have not seen the second and third seasons of the Twin Peaks TV series should not watch this film first, despite the fact it is a prequel of sorts, as it presumes that you already know the secrets of Twin Peaks. And you should probably also stop reading this review now as some of what I have to say about this show may inadvertently give away some of the great revelations of the series.

    The beauty of Lynch’s work, however, is the capacity to view it on multiple levels, particularly in terms of the supernatural versus the psychological. Is the Twin Peaks TV series a supernatural horror story about a red room that steals people’s souls? Or is it the story of a brilliant if eccentric FBI agent driven insane by the corrupt underbelly of a seemingly innocent place like Twin Peaks? Likewise, is Fire Walk With Me a supernatural tale of the fundamental struggle between good and evil, or is it a psychological exploration of a teenage girl driven insane by sexual abuse and narcotics? In both cases, the answer is ‘both’.

    Lynch seems fascinated with the notion of the psychological versus the supernatural and has tackled this theme several times, with films like Eraserhead and Lost Highway, and more recently Mulholland Drive. The realm where perception twists and subjective interpretation becomes reality (no matter how bizarre that perception is) is where Lynch niches his films. You cannot help but empathise with his characters, even though most of them are clinically insane. Perhaps this is the most terrifying aspect of his films.

    In Fire Walk With Me, Lynch takes the gloves off – no longer restrained by TV censorship and the moral majority, and with a big screen budget, creative control, and a clear vision. The lurid underbelly of Twin Peaks is exposed in full, including Laura’s painful and tragic path to self annihilation. Sheryl Lee is also given unbridled scope to portray this tragic journey, and she is outstanding, a performance that carries this film so convincingly that it was a surprise that she was not recognised for it, despite the ‘art house’ nature of the movie.

    Indeed, Lynch managed to draw together the majority of the original cast members for this final foray into the world of Twin Peaks, except for Lara Flynn Boyle who is here replaced by Moira Kelly. Despite being the newcomer, Kelly manages to portray Donna Hayward in much the same way as her predecessor did, with many of the same mannerisms and inflections of voice, although it would have been nice to see Boyle finish off the role. Aside from Sheryl Lee, due credit must also go to Ray Wise who, as Laura’s father Leland, is also exceptional.

    Whatever you make of it, I found Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me to be a beautiful, ugly, terrifying and ultimately highly emotional film that has stayed with me since the very first time I watched it and even now has something new for me when I return to it. It makes a lot more sense if you’ve seen the TV series, but don’t come here looking for any easy answers.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Transferred here in its full original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced, I watched it at normal resolution and upscaled to 1080i at 50Hz.

    The picture is excellent and well detailed, although the colour is not quite as well saturated as the R1 release. I’m not entirely sure why this is, but it lacks the intensity that the R1 release has.

    Shadow detail is faultless and while there is a touch of graininess to the picture, much of this has to do with the age of the print.

    Film-to-video transfer artefacts were negligible.

    There is a little dirt on the print, but no glaring film artefacts that I found overly distracting. This is certainly better than the VHS print that I have been using for the last 10 years or so.

    Subtitles are available in English for the Hearing Impaired only. The are clear and easy to read, and convey the intended meaning of the dialogue without being word for word.

    The dual-layer pause is at 62:11. It occurs during a scene change, and while noticeable is not terribly distracting.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Audio is available in English 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround (448Kb/s) and English 5.1 DTS (768Kb/s). However, there is no pre-screen before going straight into the film and when I went into the menu, changed to DTS and returned, I only got a blank screen and very weirdly mixed sound. I hit the chapter rewind button and it seemed to reset, and this time I got the sound of the wind in the pines before going into the TV static credits sequence. This fault repeated on me on my other DVD player and the player in my PC and seems to be an issue with the disc. That said, it’s easy to navigate around, and only occurs if you change over to DTS.

    Dialogue is clear and well mixed on both the Dolby Digital track and the DTS track. I noticed no audio sync issues.

    There is a lot of surround sound information, and this is an excellent ephemeral remix. There are some sound sequences here that are enough to draw up the hairs on your arms.

    The diverse score by Angelo Badalamenti, which is a trademark of this film, is fantastic once realised in its full DTS.

    The DTS also (unsurprisingly) beats the Dolby Digital track with bass, and there is some truly ear shattering use of the subwoofer here to create a terrifying atmosphere. Amazing.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menus

    All menus are presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced with a 2.0 Dolby Stereo soundtrack.

Who?

    Presented in 2.0 Dolby Surround, 1.33:1 inset in a black border, these are a series of 2 second snippets identifying each and every one of the characters from the film.

Electronic Press Kit (19:44)

    Presented in 2.0 Dolby Stereo, 1.33:1, this is the video press kit that was given to the press to assist them in writing reviews, advertising and articles. If contains a Featurette, Actor Clips, Interviews and a Trailer.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The R1 release has better colour saturation in its image, and a slightly sharper image overall. More importantly, the R1 edition comes with the following additional extras:

    The new documentary is an outstanding feature, and so I am giving this one to the R1 release on picture and sound quality as well as extras. That is not to snub your nose at this release, which is excellent, just to say the R1 is slightly better.

Summary

    Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is one of the scariest, twisted and yet most highly emotional films I’ve ever seen. It is both beautiful and horrifying and rates as one of my favourite films. I highly recommend it, although preferably you should see the series first.

    The video transfer is very good, although colour saturation is slightly better with the R1 release.

    The 5.1 DTS track is amazing and made many scenes even more frightening than when I first saw them. Psychologically intense. The 5.1 Dolby Digital track is good, but not as good.

    The extras are not bad, but a poor effort by comparison to its R1 cousin.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Monday, April 17, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDMomitsu V880N Deluxe, using DVI output
DisplaySony VPL-HS50 LCD Cineza Projector with HP 80" Widescreen (16:9) HDTV Mobile Projector Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationMarantz SR7000
SpeakersDigital Accoustics Emerald 703G - Centre, Front Left & Right, Rear Left & Right Satellites, Subwoofer

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