Lost Highway: 2-Disc Special Edition (1997)

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Released 2-Mar-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Menu Animation & Audio
Gallery-Who?
Interviews-Crew-David Lynch (2005 & 1996)
Interviews-Cast-Bill Pullman, Patricia Arquette, Robert Loggia
Featurette-Making Of
Featurette
Teaser Trailer
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 128:43 (Case: 130)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (65:14)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By David Lynch
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Bill Pullman
Patricia Arquette
Balthazar Getty
Robert Blake
Natasha Gregson Wagner
Richard Pryor
Lucy Butler
Michael Massee
Jack Nance
Jack Kehler
Henry Rollins
Giovanni Ribisi
Scott Coffey
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI $19.95 Music Barry Adamson
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 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    After unleashing Eraserhead and Blue Velvet on the film world, David Lynch's reputation for surrealism and nightmarish film noir was firmly established. As disturbing as both films are, though, Lynch's collaborations with novelist and playwright Barry Gifford, Wild At Heart and Lost Highway, revealed all new levels of bizarre imagery and violence in Lynch's sensibilities. Lost Highway in particular delves deeply into the violent extremes of film noir, drawing out in detail the misogyny and brutality behind the femme fatale archetype.

    Fred Madison (Bill Pullman), a jazz saxophonist, suspects his wife Renee (Patricia Arquette) is cheating on him. Fred's state of mind is slowly slipping out of control and when an unknown voice announces over his intercom that "Dick Laurent is dead," mystery after mystery begins to push Fred completely off the edge. Unmarked video tapes showing the couple sleeping at night arrive on their doorstep and Fred makes the acquaintance of the Mystery Man (Robert Blake), who knows far more about Fred than he should. Revealing any more of the plot would spoil the many odd twists and turns that follow. Suffice it to say, once Pete Dayton (Balthazar Getty) and Mr Eddy (Robert Loggia) appear in frame, all bets are off and Lost Highway launches into all areas of deception, false identity, murder and dreams.

    Lost Highway plays as something of a companion piece to Mulholland Dr., dealing with many of the same themes and ideas, particularly the lengths the mind can go to to protect a tortured soul from its own violent past. In both films, the line between objective reality and subjective fantasy is blurred at best. Lynch uses uncanny imagery (a Freudian expert it would appear) to disturbing effect, revealing sights that both attract and repel, somehow completely abhorrent yet oddly familiar at the same time. Due warning is given: Lost Highway is extremely unpleasant to watch and female characters are cast in a particularly doomed and misogynistic light (a critique, no doubt, as opposed to an endorsement). Still, there is a macabre beauty to be found in the film and an incredible roller-coaster ride through the darkest levels of the unconscious. Try to interpret Lost Highway if you must, but the film works far better unexplained. Let it happen at its own pace and see where Lost Highway leads you.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Very nice indeed. Lost Highway has been given a fantastic video transfer (ported from the mk2 French release) with only the most minor of issues. The film has been transferred in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    Video is very detailed and but just a little soft. The effect appears intentional and perhaps is due to Lynch's lighting choices. Blacks are deep and shadow detail is very good. There is plenty of visible grain throughout the entire film, especially in the many dark scenes. The colour palette is rich, but subtle, and rendered without blemish or bleeding.

    MPEG artefacts are non-existent. The grain pushes the image toward a little pixelization and some colour banding or posterization, but the effect is very minor. Film-to-video artefacts are completely absent and film artefacts appear very rarely: just a small spot here and there.

    The packaging lists English subtitles, but none have been recorded on the disc. The film has been divided into 50 chapters (overkill really). This is an RSDL disc: the layer change is placed at 65:14 in a black scene transition and is unobtrusive.

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

Audio

    The audio on this release is also fantastic. Two audio tracks are included: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (default) and English DTS 5.1. I listened to the DTS track in full (very impressive) and sampled the Dolby track.

    Dialogue has been reproduced with perfect clarity and richness: no hiss or crackle. Audio sync is accurate. Lynch has created an intricate sound stage, combining subtle low frequency rumbles with snatches of surreal music, screeching sounds and the buzzing of light bulbs. The effect is disconcerting, creating an ominous atmosphere. The DTS renders these effects beautifully, diffusing the odd noises around the entire surround stage and giving the subwoofer steady but subtle work. The subwoofer comes into its own during the several heavy songs included on the soundtrack. The Dolby Digital track is also good, but lacks the depth and range of the DTS.

    Lynch regular Angelo Badalamenti is responsible for the score, although it's difficult to separate score from ambience. Once Balthazar Getty appears, Badalamenti introduces some of his trademark creepy jazz. Music from David Bowie, Trent Reznor, Marylyn Manson, Rammstein and others add to the nightmarish atmosphere.

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

Extras

Menu Animation & Audio

    Very suitable animation and audio perfectly capture the mood of the film. Great stuff. 16x9 enhanced.

Gallery

    Who? Accessible on Disc One is a list of all the characters appearing in Lost Highway. Clicking on a name will play a two second clip of the character in the film. Just a little odd and practically pointless. The same kind of feature appears on Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.

Interviews-Crew

    Lynch 2005 - (14:02). 16x9 enhanced. Lynch claims to remember very little, but offers some clues about Lost Highway and its conception in his typically vague and obscure way. Interesting just to see what he'll come out with.

Interviews-Crew

    Lynch 1996 - (4:52). Older interview footage with Lynch. Just as vague.

Interviews-Cast

    Arquette, Pullman, and Loggia each discuss working with Lynch and making the film. No one really has anything of value to say, mostly relating what a privilege it is to work with the director, even if they don't follow what's going on in the film. Shot in 1996.

Featurette-Making Of

    (9:27). 4x3. Behind the scenes footage without commentary. An interesting look at the way shots are set up.

Featurette

    (6:58) The same interviews from 1996 described above are cut into sound bites and interspersed with clips from the film. EPK at its best.

Teaser Trailer

Theatrical Trailer

R4 vs R1

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

    This release of Lost Highway makes significant improvement on the old release from Shock (reviewed here). Video is much sharper, cleaner and colours are a revelation in comparison. The new DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks leave the old Dolby Digital 2.0 track in the dust.

    The mk2 Region 2 France release is identical to ours bar the addition of French subtitles, a French Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track, and a booklet in French (content unknown). From screen captures I have seen, colours look a little more saturated than ours. I can't be certain which is closest to Lynch's intention, and the difference could be a product of the capturing process. Personally I prefer the look of this release.

    Region 1 lucks out completely. A Canadian release is available, but has been cut to a ratio of 1.33:1. By all accounts, the transfer is terrible. Avoid at all costs!

    Unless you want a French audio track, our release is top-notch.

Summary

    A highly disturbing but fascinating take on film noir, Lost Highway is pure Lynch madness.

    Video is excellent.

    Audio is superb. The DTS track is particularly well executed and highly immersive.

    Extras are a little light on and sometimes bizarre. Lynch is as vague as always.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Atkinson (read my bio)
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-S336, using Component output
DisplayLG Flatron Widescreen RT-28FZ85RX. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationYamaha RX-V357
SpeakersDB Dynamics Belmont Series: Fronts: B50F, Centre: B50C, Rears: B50S, Sub: SW8BR

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