Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern are the last-word in star-crossed lovers. Pursued by theminions of Dern’s psychopathic mother Diane Ladd, they engage in a nightmarishly picaresquejourney across the American south, encountering one grotesque after another (most memorablyWillem Dafoe’s deeply creepy Bobby Peru). The over-the-top sex and violence is held togetherby a narrative that is a dark remake of The Wizard of Oz.
This was David Lynch’s follow-up to Blue Vel…et, and with this he earned a Palmed’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. It is filled with memorable characters and scenes, but thelunatic humour prevents the movie from being as intense as its predecessor. For that matter, Ifind Lost Highway a more satisfyingly committed descent into weird nightmare (though Iacknowledge being in a minority on this). Nonetheless, flaws aside, this is spectacularfilmmaking.
While there isn’t a tremendous amount by way of surround when it comes to sound effects,there are some undeniably effective ones, usually the portentous booms and echoes so beloved ofLynch. The music is well-served, too, and the dialogue doesn’t distort. Viewers have the optionof choosing both the 5.1 mix and the original 2.0.
The transfer has been completely re-done, and, as Lynch points out in the featurette about theDVD, what this means is not that the result looks different from any other good-quality DVDrelease, but that the triumph is in the film not being plagued by earlier flaws. The colours, then,are very strong, though some of the reds seem a bit too powerful. There is no grain or edgeenhancement, and the blacks are excellent. The picture isn’t always as razor sharp as it might be,but the transfer is generally excellent.
Fans hoping for a Lynch commentary will once again be disappointed. Instead, there is afairly wide selection of interviews. “Love, Dead, Elvis & Oz: The Making of Wild atHeart” is a half-hour documentary looking back at how the film came to be. Many of theinterview subjects here have more to say in “Dell’s Lunch Counter.” Here you select a sandwich,which triggers one of 9 interviews, such as novelist Barry Gifford talking about the adaptation.Other subjects include Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern, David Lynch, Willem Dafoe, Diane Ladd, andSheryl Lee. As mentioned above, Lynch talks about the making of the DVD in a very brief, butinformative featurette. “Specific Spontaneity: Focus on David Lynch” is 7 minutes long — notmuch for a filmmaker of his stature. The film’s original making-of featurette is included, as area scored image gallery, the theatrical trailer, four TV spots, and ads for other MGM releases. Themenu’s main screen is fully animated and scored, and the liner has a useful character tree.
Blue Velvet. Mulholland Dr. The Elephant Man. Eraserhead.Now Wild at Heart. All with good DVD treatments. So why is Lost Highway stillonly available as a hideous pan & scan?