On its surface, Coastlines is a modestly produced film that was written and directed by Victor Nunez (Ulee’s Gold), telling the story about a guy who was just released from prison for dealing drugs, but bites the prison bullet for the favor of a friend. He comes out and is looking for the financial windfall promised him, but also tries to get back in touch with his roots. On a deeper level, Coastlines, well, doesn’t go that much deeper I guess.
The ex-con in question is Sonny (Timothy Olyphant, Deadwood), who quickly reunites with the criminal element of his past in Eddie and Fred Vance (played by Josh Lucas, Hulk, and William Forsythe, The Rock, respectively), who also give him the opportunity to get back into business for himself. He finds a bit of a conflict in this, because he is close friends with Dave (Josh Brolin, Into the Blue), who happens to be a Sheriff in town. Sonny also has feelings for Dave’s wife Ann (Sarah Wynter, Species II).
The story itself starts out well with several different possibilities. Will Sonny decide to go back to a life of crime? Will Ann reciprocate the feelings with Sonny? But after a sudden death of someone close to Sonny, things take this strange turn. He becomes a stoic man who has a crush on Ann, but he also likes Effie (Angela Bettis, Toolbox Murders) and Effie occasionally seems to like Sonny more than Ann does.
So while the movie starts out decently, it seems to hype several different ways of evolving, and none of them happen particularly well. Some people have said it’s an action film, others have even said it’s a strong romance of sorts, but whatever it is, Coastlines features flashes of all of those without bearing any real fruition to speak of.
You’re going to get 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and like it, mister! The picture itself isn’t too bad, the backgrounds are fairly drab and without a lot of color, and that’s replicated pretty well on this disc.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is nice, albeit a little bit wasted on this film. There are a couple of explosions that bring out some low end subwoofer action, but the surrounds are seldom used and the movie is mostly muted dialogue in the center channel.
The first and biggest extra is a commentary with Nunez. Nunez is fairly eloquent and well-spoken about the film and his thoughts on the story and cast. He spends a fair amount of time watching the film, so there are some gaps of silence, but he knows what he’s talking about when it comes to the material. A deleted scene with optional commentary is the only other piece, but that’s also kind of boring.
Coastlines is an admirable tale that just doesn’t know what to do with itself in the second and third acts. The performances are pretty good (Olyphant is capable, and Brolin’s role was the more intriguing if it were given a little more exposition), but it’s nothing that I’d recommend to own in your film library.