MAGNOLIA has released the latest film from Director Jennifer Lynch(Daughter of David Lynch). Her last film, "BOXING HELENA" had some visually arresting moments, however its script was awful. "SURVEILLANCE" marks a refreshing return for Lynch, after an extended absence from film, and although imperfect, it's intriguing enough to make one anticipate her next film.
Bill Pullman and Julia Ormond star as FBI agents Sam Hallaway and Elizabeth Anderson, showing up at a desolate police station to record interviews on surveillance cameras, with three witnesses, hoping to pull events together around a violent roadside massacre being investigated. From the beginning and throughout, Lynch does a sometimes masterful job at creating a palpable sense of fear in the air. While the viewer isn't quite sure who to fear or where the twists will come, there's a certainty to their existence and that, alone, makes "SURVEILLANCE" more effective than most "thrillers" out there or released in the past few years. The interviews, with flashback sequences making up large portions of the film, provide background as to what horrible events happened, providing more and more info by the final interview. But, when surprises do reveal themselves, they're intelligently handled and rapid, creating a shocking impact.
The film's ending is so intentionally disturbing, it's certain to turn off most viewers. However, the "alternate" ending, provided for in filmed but non-scope format, is arguably preferable.
MAGNOLIA has provided the proper 2.35:1 aspect ratio for this 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 blu-ray release. Colors are pushed to extremes but never oversaturated. The three flashback sequences are shot with different hues and designed for the different perspectives conveyed. While various stocks are showcased, all look flawless in this presentation. Detail is outstanding. The police station scenes have the most varied look of the film, with colors subdued, and an overall dark design. Still, the blacks are inky enough for the grays to distinguish themselves in these scenes. A GREAT LOOKING TRANSFER!
MAGNOLIA has provided a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. While surrounds are restrained, when they're employed, it's with great surprise and impact. This is an intelligently designed mix. The use of silence is as effective as the effects moments, and "SURVEILLANCE" offers one of the most effective mixes of the past year.
MAGNOLIA has provided some worthwhile extras.
A commentary with Lynch and two actors offers great stories, and ends up being one of the most engaging commentaries of recent memory.
Two featurettes, (one a promo) offer more behind-the-scenes imagery and info about the production. Deleted scenes and an alternative ending, less jarring but arguably more pleasing, are provided for in standard resolution.