BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Nomads (1986) - Blu-ray Review

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Nomads - Blu-ray Review


3 beersWritten and directed by John McTiernan, Nomads is a film whose reputation as a disappointing film suffers solely because it was released way ahead of its time.  Print critics simply killed the film with the pen and their negative reviews upon its initial release in 1986 but – with its rapid edits and forward-thinking script – the fact remains that Nomads, a film that challenges audiences with a trisected narrative that merges together to form an unexpected ending, is better than it is given credit.

Nomads is a supernatural thriller featuring a fine leading performance (his first) from Pierce Brosnan as Jean-Charles Pommier, a French sociologist whose studies of primitive people has opened up to some very interesting beliefs.  He arrives in Los Angeles with patient wife Niki (Anna Maria Monticelli) with the plan to teach at UCLA.  A not so random biker gang has other plans for him. 

Yet, due to the structure of the film, the audience doesn’t get all this information up front.  Instead, the film opens with Dr. Eileen Flax (Lesley-Anne Down) who watches Jean-Charles pass away after violently attacking her in the hospital.  Flax’s life suddenly gets a whole hell of a lot more complicated as she is now in possession of Jean-Charles’ memories, which involve trailing the biker gang I previously mentioned.  

The further into the rabbit hole she goes, the more she begins to disappear until she awakens to find herself on the run with Pommier’s wife.  And, just when you think you know what is happening, McTiernan – through misdirection and clever edits – hits you upside the head with a disturbing turn of events as the truth behind the leather-clad bikers and punks is revealed.  Co-starring Adam Ant and Mary Woronov, Nomads comes across as a loopy B-movie but reveals itself to be an intelligent horror film.

Nomads is a complicated flick.  It definitely has a select audience in mind; an audience who likes being challenged by their choice in entertainment.  Brosnan gives the role – a role he inherited from Gerard Depardieu – its full command and is quite believable as a frenchman.  Obviously, his enjoyment in being anything BUT Remington Steele is apparent.  He is sharp as a tack in the role of a man who becomes obsessed with the idea of never sleeping again.  Maybe, if not for his involvement, Nomads would be a lesser flick, remembered as solely an experiment in narrative structure.  Fortunately, both Brosnan and McTiernan would live to see another day.  For Brosnan, there was Bond.  For McTiernan, fortune and glory would arrive with his next project: a little action film called Die Hard.  Maybe you’ve seen it?

Nomads makes it blu-ray debut thanks to this release from Scream Factory.

Nomads - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R..
91 mins
: John McTiernan
John McTiernan, Barry Stern
Lesley-Anne Down, Pierce Brosnan, Anna Maria
: Horror | Mystery | Thriller
A Chilling Tale Of Supernatural Evil.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I think so. He's hallucinating... Was... hallucinating."
Atlantic Releasing Corporation
Official Site:
Release Date:
March 7, 1986
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
August 18, 2015
Synopsis: A French anthropologist moves to Los Angeles and is followed by the evil spirits of an extinct tribe he once uncovered.

Nomads - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - August 18, 2015
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: A

Released by Scream Factory an offshoot of the fine folks over at Shout! Factory, the AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.85:1 is a decent viewing experience for fans of Nomads.  There are some visible scratches in the print used for the transfer and those carry over with some other deficits but, overall, the HD treatment cleans up the previous muddied aspect.  There are a lot of nighttime sequences and, as some of you know, LA at night can be pretty and ugly.  Thankfully, the shadows in the transfer maintain their edges and their depth with makes watching.  Colors are crisp and skin tones are natural.  The sound – presented here in a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track – isn’t an immersive experience but it is adequate for the film.



  • None

Special Features:

The supplemental material is slim but does feature two new and interesting conversations with Lesley-Anne Down and another with Bill Conti, the composer to the soundtrack of Nomads.  Ms. Down starts hers with a theory to why the draw to B-movies exists for some audiences.  A radio spot and trailer is also included.

  • Interview with Lesley-Anne Down (16 min)
  • Interview with Composer Bill Conti (17 min)
  • Radio Spot
  • Theatrical Trailer



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