Paradise Highway appears in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie came with a more than acceptable image.
Sharpness felt erratic but largely positive. Though wide shots displayed a little more softness than I might expect, the overall package remained fairly well-defined.
I saw no issues with jagged edges or moiré effects, and the image lacked edge haloes. Print flaws also remained absent.
Colors opted for a mix of blue/teal and amber/orange most of the time. The hues appeared decent though not dynamic.
Blacks were a bit dense, while shadows seemed a little on the murky side. The image was perfectly watchable if not excellent.
I felt pleased with the fairly good DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Highway. This wasn’t exactly an action-packed mix, so one shouldn’t expect constant auditory shenanigans. When appropriate, the soundscape kicked to life well, but much of it focused on ambient information and music.
Audio quality worked fine. Dialogue worked fine, so the lines seemed natural and concise.
Music offered good range and impact, and effects followed suit. These elements contributed fine dimensionality, with strong low-end at appropriate times. All of this led to a worthwhile soundtrack.
A few extras appear here, and we find an audio commentary from writer/director Anna Gutto. She brings a running, screen-specific look at the project’s roots and influences, cast and performances, sets and locations, factual background, photography, editing and music, shooting trucks, research and related domains.
Expect an inconsistent commentary. On the positive side, Gutto brings some good insights about various production and creative domains.
On the negative side, Gutto tends toward a lot of praise, and she also can simply narrate the movie at times. There’s still enough to make the track worth a listen, but it sputters more than I’d like.
Five Deleted Scenes fill a total of five minutes, 11 seconds. The first shows the initial meeting between Gerick and Sterling. It’s unnecessary but entertaining.
The other four fall into the expository domain and don’t seem especially important. While they offer some value independently, they don’t add anything necessary for the story.
We can view the scenes with or without commentary from Gutto. She tells us background for the clips as well as why she cut them. The remarks bring some useful info.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we finish with The Making of Paradise Highway. It runs 22 minutes, 43 seconds and involves Gutto, producers Michael Leahy, Georgia Bayliff and Claudia Bluemhuber, stunt coordinator Keith Adams, costume designer Stacy Jansen, director of photography John Christian Rosenlund, production designer Frida Oliva, location manager John Read, and actors Juliette Binoche, Frank Grillo, Morgan Freeman, Hala Finley, Desiree Wood, Dianne McNair-Smith, and Veronica Ferres.
“Making” looks at the project’s roots and story/characters, cast and performances, themes and background, sets and locations, costumes and photography. A few insights emerge but most of this feels like promotional fluff.
More of an attempt to educate viewers about human trafficking than a compelling narrative, Paradise Highway fails to connect. The movie seems slow and without the drama or emotional impact it needs. The Blu-ray brings generally positive picture and audio as well as a mix of bonus materials. Despite some potential to connect, the end result feels spotty and unfulfilling.