Lost Highway (Shock) (1997)

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Released 25-Jul-2001

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Featurette-The People Behind The Movie
Featurette-Production Design
Featurette-The 'Bad Guys'
Featurette-The Idea
Featurette-Achieving 'The Feel'
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 128:52 (Case: 135)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (83:18) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By David Lynch
Studio
Distributor

Shock Entertainment
Starring Bill Pullman
Patricia Arquette
Balthazar Getty
Robert Blake
Natasha Gregson Wagner
Gary Busey
Robert Loggia
Case Click
RPI $32.95 Music Angelo Badalamenti


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/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

    Lost Highway is a David Lynch film. For some people, that's enough - you can proceed to the Transfer Quality section, or stop reading immediately. Some people love his work, others hate it - he tends to have a polarising effect like that, probably because his films are more extreme than most.

    David Lynch has made a few approachable films: Dune, The Elephant Man. This is not like that. This film has several elements which are never explained, and it is up to the viewer to try and make sense of it all. I am unconvinced that we can do so without making some really big assumptions. I suspect that part of the film takes place inside the mind of one of the characters, but I'm not sure which of them, nor which part. Do I sound confused? I should. I watched this film twice trying to sort out what's happening, and all I can tell you is that it doesn't become any clearer the second time through.

    I'm not going to try to explain the plot, because I don't understand it. Suffice it to say that it begins with a saxophonist (Bill Pullman) and his wife (Patricia Arquette) getting video tapes dropped on their front steps with the morning paper. These tapes start with showing just the outside of their house. Then they start to show the inside, then footage of the two of them asleep in bed - disturbing. The other major characters are a garage mechanic (Balthazar Getty), a local thug (Robert Loggia), and a creepy guy (Robert Blake) who seems to be the most unexplained of all. Oh, and another woman, called Alice, who seems to be the thug's girlfriend. 

    There is some ugly violence in this film, including one rather gruesome death - this film earns its R rating. There is quite a bit of female nudity - Patricia Arquette claims (in one of the featurettes) to have a phobia about nudity, but she is probably nude most often. There's an artistic shot which seems to be included purely to show a woman's breast bouncing in slow motion. There's a nasty shot of a woman forced to strip with a gun to her head.

    A minor grizzle - the audio dynamic range of this film is quite large. The opening music is fairly loud, so you'll turn the volume down. Then Patricia Arquette speaks really quietly - barely audible - so you'll turn the volume up. Then a shock of music will scare you into turning it down again... Maybe if they'd included subtitles we could have avoided this problem.

    The film begins and ends with a shot from a car driving down a highway at night - looking forwards, headlights on the road. I gotta say - I'd hate to meet the driver coming towards me, because he/she is driving down the centre of the road. Maybe David Lynch was playing "connect the dots"?

    This film is not the sort of thing you'll drop in the player for a relaxing night at home. It is more likely to start arguments. Definitely a film you'll have to think about, whether you want to, or not. I don't recommend watching it alone.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and is 16x9 enhanced. That seems to be the original theatrical aspect ratio.

    The picture varies in sharpness, and that's not just in the segments of video (which are dreadful quality). Mostly the picture is a little grainy, but in several places it becomes severely grainy. Shadow detail is restricted - colours drop off into unrelieved black quite quickly. There's no low level noise, and there's plenty of black that would have shown it.

    Colour is muted, but by production design - skin tones seem accurate, but blood seems dark, not bright. There are a few moments of bright colour, such as the carpet in Mr Eddy's lounge, but these moments may be imaginary.

    The grain results in high levels of mosquito noise. There are a few film artefacts, but they are mostly untroubling. There are reel-change markings, suggesting strongly that this transfer was taken from a display print, which is never a desirable thing. There is not a lot of aliasing, but what there is is a bit annoying. There don't seem to be any visible MPEG artefacts, but they could be hidden by the grain. This is not a clean transfer.

    There are no subtitles, and I really wish there were - some of the dialogue is hard to understand.

    The disc is single-sided and dual-layered (RSDL-formatted). The layer change is hidden at 83:18 in a fade to black between scenes, making it invisible.

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

Audio

    There is only one soundtrack; English Dolby Digital 2.0 without surround encoding. There's not a lot of stereo effect in the soundtrack, but there is one sequence with someone walking on the roof that is quite effective.

    The dialogue is quite difficult to understand at certain points in the film - I'd have appreciated subtitles - but you can mostly understand what is going on. There are no visible audio sync problems.

    The score is by Angelo Badalamenti, but one of the featurettes makes it clear that David Lynch was heavily involved. There is some symphonic music, some heavy contemporary music, including fragments of songs, and some stuff I wouldn't necessarily categorise as music, but rather as screeching noises.

    The surrounds and the subwoofer are not called upon by this soundtrack.

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu is static with music. Functional, but not pretty.

Featurettes (5)

    There are five featurettes under Special Features on the menu:

  1. The People Behind the Movie (10:42)
  2. Production Design (9:34)
  3. The "Bad Guys" (4:51)
  4. The Idea (2:56)
  5. Achieving "The Feel" (13:41)

    Unfortunately, the fourth one, The Idea, does not live up to its name by explaining the idea behind the film.

R4 vs R1

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

    This movie is not available on DVD in Region 1, nor is it announced.

Summary

    A strange film, given a fairly poor transfer onto DVD, and a poor quality cover.

    The video is not good.

    The audio is adequate.

    The extras are fine.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Monday, January 14, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDArcam DV88, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left and Right: Krix Euphonix, Centre: Krix KDX-C Rears: Krix KDX-M, Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
The German R2 version is also comparable - Doctor (Biometric Readout)
It's elementary, but don't get hung up on the plot - Derby
R1 and Uncut version - Dave
Any word on the new Roadshow release of Lost Highway? - The Man with No Name
RE: Roadshow release - Matthew L