In the soulless wasteland of the San Fernando Valley, feeling-her-oats teen Evan Rachel Wood meets cowboy (or something) Edward Norton at a filling station. Despite the creepy age difference, friendship becomes romance, but Wood’s father (David Morse) is understandably less than keen about the relationship. He orders an end to it. Neither of the lovers is happy with that, and the situation is all the more explosive since Norton is far from being right in the head.
The performances …re stellar by all concerned (including Rory Culkin as Wood’s younger brother), and the ideas the film has are quite ambitious. Not everyone who caught the film in its recent theatrical release bought these ideas necessarily, but the film is undeniably gripping.
The options are 5.1 and 2.0. The dialogue is clear and undistorted, and the score sounds fine. Environmental effects aren’t always deployed when they could be, but when they are, they are very effective (such as the sounds of traffic near the filling station). The overall volume level is a bit low, however, especially by comparison to the menu, which is well nigh deafening.
The lethargic hopelessness of the setting, which, with its endless vistas of freeways and stripmalls, seems designed to such one’s dreams of life, is nicely captured by the cinematography, itself well served by the transfer. The colours are naturalistic but leeched of energy. The image is sharp, and neither grain nor edge enhancement are real issues.
No commentary, but a Q&A session in New York with Norton and writer/director David Jacobson, hosted by Peter Travers, is more interesting than many a featurette. There are four deleted scenes (in a single montage), and the theatrical trailer is joined by trailers for other new releases. That’s it.
A challenging film, but a rewarding one. The disc is pretty thin on extras, though.
Special Features List
- Q&A With Director and Star
- Deleted Scenes