Lost Highway appears in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. Likely due to intentional stylistic choices, this Dolby Vision release became a somewhat erratic visual experience.
Sharpness acted as the most inconsistent side of the image, so expect some oddly soft shots at times. Still, most of the movie demonstrated good delineation, even though it rarely seemed terrifically accurate.
Neither jagged edges nor moiré effects became an issue, and I saw no edge haloes. With a healthy layer of grain, noise reduction didn’t become a concern, and the flick lacked print flaws.
Colors opted for a low-key vibe that accentuated reds and ambers. Though the hues rarely got a chance to shine, the disc depicted the semi-ugly tones in an appropriate manner. HDR brought a bit of added heft to the hues.
Blacks felt deep and dense, while shadows appeared fairly well-developed. Again, stylistic choices impacted this domain, as these could seem a little murky, but they felt intentional.
HDR allowed whites and contrast to boast a little more range. No one will view this as a demo piece, but the 4K UHD seemed to reproduce the movie as intended.
As for the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it tended to accentuate music. The film’s score and rock songs used the five channels in an active and involving manner.
Effects became a more erratic participant. Some scenes with a more violent tone used the channels in an engaging way, but a lot of the soundscape showed restricted range. Nonetheless, the soundfield felt appropriate for the story on display.
Audio quality worked fine, with speech that came across as natural and concise. Effects showed good range and accuracy.
Music varied somewhat dependent on the source, but the score and songs usually felt lively and full. This turned into a largely satisfying mix.
How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? Both came with identical audio.
As for the Dolby Vision image, it boasted the standard format-related improvements, as it looked a bit better defined and more dynamic. I didn’t think the 4K offered a major step up, but it became the more satisfying of the two.
The included Blu-ray copy provides the set’s extras, and we begin with a 1997 documentary called Pretty as a Picture. It spans one hour, 20 minutes, 39 seconds and brings notes from writer/director David Lynch, producer/editor Mary Sweeney, writer Barry Gifford, producer Deepak Nayar, composer Angelo Badalamenti, musician Jocelyn West, artists Jack Fisk and Bushnell Keeler, Lynch’s ex-wife Peggy Reavey, Lynch’s children Austin and Jennifer, Elephant Man producer Mel Brooks, LA Museum of Art Curator of Photography Robert Sobiezcek, art critic Peter Frank, production designer Patricia Norris, director of photography Peter Deming, sound mixer John Ross, 1st AD Scott Cameron, and actors Bill Pullman, Patricia Arquette, Robert Blake, Robert Loggia, Jack Nance, Dean Stockwell, Natasha Gregson Wagner and Balthazar Getty.
Here we look at Highway’s path to the screen, story/characters, music and audio, production and costume design, cinematography, cast and performances, editing, and aspects of Lynch’s life and career.
Though “Pretty” starts as a take on the production of Highway, it soon transforms into a more general view of Lynch’s life and work before it heads back to the 1997 film. This structure means “Pretty” skips around a lot, but it nonetheless offers quite a lot of good information.
“Picture” also comes with 14 minutes, 17 seconds of “Outtakes”. In these, we hear from Lynch, Keeler, Fisk, Reavey, Gifford, and Brooks.
The “Outtakes” expand on the topics in the main documentary with some enjoyable but inessential moments. I do appreciate that we find some comedy from Brooks, as he remains pretty subdued in the primary piece.
With Next Door to Dark, Lynch and co-author Kristine McKenna read selections from their 2018 book Room to Dream. This audio-only piece spans 43 minutes, 39 seconds.
“Dark” covers a mix of topics related to Highway. McKenna chats during the program’s first half and brings the more nuts and bolts view, while Lynch then picks up with more esoteric observations. While not quite a substitute for a commentary, this becomes a pretty engaging discussion.
The Making of Lost Highway runs 13 minutes, three seconds and features Lynch, Arquette, Loggia and Pullman.
“Making” brings some circa 1997 thoughts about the film from director and actors. It brings a few insights but seems less satisfying than expected.
In addition to the film’s re-release trailer, we fine David Lynch, 1997. In this 11-minute, 25-second reel, we get Lynch’s memories of the film’s creation recorded years after the fact.
Lynch admits at the start that he doesn’t remember much about the period, but he still manages some decent notes. Though not a great piece, “1997” delivers some worthwhile thoughts.
Finally, the set includes a booklet that presents photos, credits and excerpts from a Chris Rodley interview with Lynch. It concludes the package in a positive manner.
After a brief period of mainstream success, 1997 saw the return of David Lynch to his own form of creepy weirdness. While aspects of the movie show promise, too much of it feels tedious and meandering. The 4K UHD comes with generally positive picture and audio as well as a reasonably good set of bonus materials. Leave this one for Lynch obsessives.
To rate this film, visit the prior review of LOST HIGHWAY