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Lost Highway (1997) - Blu-ray Review

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Lost Highway (1997)

That lone and long highway.  The flickering camera as it cruises at high speeds on a dark night down it.  The warbling, frenetic sounds as David Bowie softly croons, “I’m Deranged.”  Yes, Lynch’s Lost Highway, and its videotaped while sleeping situation is back and this time it’s challenging timeline and narrative constructs will be appreciated.

Because this film, being the first one Lynch shot in Los Angeles, is far from being mumbo jumbo nonsense.  It is a groove-inducing masterpiece. 

"The sex.  The sounds.  The slow-motion effects.  The red curtains.  Lost Highway, now on blu-ray here in the States, is definitely a David Lynch film"


 

Now, for the bad news, this release – not being overseen by Lynch (who has a high standards for the look and sound of his films on blu-ray) – has already been rendered null and void by Lynch himself.  He hopes, taking to Twitter to announce his displeasure with Kino’s release, that a version of this film that he has overseen will find its way onto the market soon.  This isn’t it, but . . .

. . . in the meantime, we have this release from the Universal transfer that was released overseas some time ago.  Kino says they have tried to work with Lynch to get the film its proper 4K release, but . . .

. . . let’s just enjoy this film, right?

The sex.  The sounds.  The slow-motion effects.  The red curtains.  Lost Highway, now on blu-ray here in the States, is definitely a David Lynch film.  Stylized with his minimal 1950s-esque esthetic and shimmering with pulp and paranoia, the film – totally lambasted upon its release in 1997 – is now regarded as a cult hit, complete with a growing fanbase.

Maybe it’s Robert Blake in white-face that makes it work.  Maybe it’s the songs, compiled by Trent Reznor and featuring David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, Rammestein, and The Smashing Pumpkins that does it.  Regardless, the mystery that starts with the statement that "Dick Laurent is dead" remains a haunting, stylized affair, if not a total mindFUCK of a motion picture.

And, yeah, it’s probably the closest thing we are going to get that resembles a horror film from Lynch thanks to the bloody and frightening sequence of bloodlust.  Long single-camera shots, mysterious phone calls, those red flowing curtains, and that SAX!  The feat that someone might be inside the house has never been as fully realized as here in the slick madness revealed in The Mystery Man’s white-powdered face. 

Somewhat inspired by the O.J. Simpson case, Lost Highway tells the story of Fred Madison (Bill Pullman), a saxophonist living in Los Angeles, who starts receiving VHS tapes mysteriously mailed to his house.  He and his wife, Renee (Patricia Arquette), watch them and discover that the tapes document the killing of Renee by Fred himself.  Thing is, they are watching something that cannot be real.

Because of the simple fact that she is still there.  Until she one day she simply isn’t around anymore and the police coming knocking down the door for his arrest.  With lots of big set designs, especially in prison, and a strong stylized approach to film noir, Lost Highway was always destined to be misinterpreted. Lost Highway (1997)

Truth be told, even by Lynch’s standards, this is a strange, strange film to take in as we slip from the jail to a garage shop with an entirely different cast and a drop dead blonde in pursuit of the night.  This is spellbinding stuff and Lynch handles it masterfully, relying on steamy and mysterious compositions by Angelo Badalamenti to carry the darker themes.

However, Lynch is far too smart to simply let this baby enter into the world without purpose.  This is a film that knows EXACTLY what it is.  It has just taken us this long – ALMOST 25 YEARS – to figure it out.  Made after Fire Walk With Me and full of lots of mysterious sequences, cool set designs, and a wicked turn of events that has Arquette playing a different femme fatale, Lost Highway has arrived at a new destination for this its blu-ray debute: your home.  Lynch’s surreal journey into neo noir, co-starring Balthazar Getty, Robert Loggia, Richard Pryor, Gary Busey, Marilyn Manson, and Jack Nance, is now available to purchase.

It won’t be the last time this film appears on blu-ray, though.  Mark my words.  Hell, listen to Lynch himself.

5/5 beers

Lost Highway (1997)

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Kino Lorber
Available on Blu-ray
- June 25, 2019
Screen Formats: 2.39:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Universal’s original image is crisp and fully resolved with the lightest, most beautiful layer of grain and no detection of digital noise reduction whatsoever.  Blacks are deep and strong.  The mastering here is impeccable.  There is a fair amount of detail and minimal specks of dirt to be found in the scans of the original movie, though.  It will be interesting to SEE and HEAR Lynch’s approved version of this movie when it appears.  This one, with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio and a choice of an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 or an English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, will have to suffice for now.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

  • None

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 1/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

3.5/5 stars

Lost Highway (1997)

MPAA Rating: R for bizarre violent and sexual content, and for strong language.
Runtime:
134 mins
Director
: David Lynch
Writer:
David Lynch, Barry Gifford
Cast:
Bill Pullman, Patricia Arquette, John Roselius
Genre
: Thriller | Mystery
Tagline:

Memorable Movie Quote: "This is where mechanical excellence and one-thousand four-hundred horsepower pays off."
Theatrical Distributor:
October Films
Official Site:
Release Date:
February 21, 1997
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
June 25, 2019
Synopsis: Haunting sexuality, ricochet action and fleeting, murderous shadows await you on a journey that begins and ends on the Lost Highway. The successful jazz musician whose marriage is on the rocks... The man in black who threatens to expose him... The young mechanic with links to a powerful mobster... The mobster’s moll, who knows what she wants and the people who can get it for her. These are the riders on the Lost Highway, trapped in their worlds of desire, destiny, and unknown destination, where the truth is always just a short way further down the road.

Lost Highway (1997)

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