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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 4/12/02

2001 (2002) - New Line

review by Todd Doogan of The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

Highway Film Rating: C-

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A/A-/F

Specs and Features

97 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1) and full frame (1.33:1), 16x9 enhanced, Snapper case packaging, single-sided, dual-layered (no layer switch), animated film-themed menu screens with sound, scene access (20 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1 and 2.0), subtitles: English, Closed Captioned

If you're looking for a strange flick that starts off incredibly cool and then morphs into a pedestrian rip-off of Midnight Cowboy (without the pathos but with plenty of the homosexual undertones), then this might be the flick for you. Personally, I love the camera work, the editing and a lot of the acting. But the story is pretty weak.

Jared Leto plays Jack, a white trash pool boy on the run from a Las Vegas moneyman who wants to break his feet for sleeping with his wife. Jake Gyllenhaal is Pilot, his best friend and a low-rent drug dealer who's joining Jack on his road trip. After some thought, the two of them decide to head to Seattle during the 1992 vigil for Kurt Cobain. The Emerald City could be the land of opportunity for these two guys, but for Pilot, who has an ulterior motive for the trek to grungeland, it may be the key to finding a long lost sweetheart. So far, not so bad, huh? The bad comes in the road trip itself. There's a lot of road between Washington and Nevada. They meet plenty of strange folks and have lots of wacky adventures, like saving a Crocodile boy and his Mom from redneck thugs or discovering the secret of the cute hitchhiker (Selma Blair) they save from a truck stop. It's all pretty empty, but from start to finish, the film looks and acts pretty damn cool. I'd advise you to turn the film's sound off and just look at it, except there's some really cool music in the film. So I'm a bit torn. I find myself liking enough of Highway, but hating enough too, that it's a wash. One thing's for sure, director James Cox is a guy to watch. And The Black Crowes' Rich Robinson should stay away from his troubled bro and do more soundtrack work.

This DVD from New Line sure is a head-scratcher. The video presentation is in both full frame and anamorphic widescreen, and for the most part they look damn good. There's some slight color saturation here and there (mostly with reds), and a bit of edge enhancement, but it's otherwise fine. The sound is also good. It's given to us in Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0, and both are very front and center. There are a bit more layers in the 5.1, but not too much. It's not very dynamic, which is a shame considering this flick sounds pretty sweet. A nicely done DTS track would have been welcome, but it's not here.

Unfortunately, New Line failed to give us anything more than just picture and sound. This disc's got nothing on it. And that doesn't sound like New Line doesn't. Where's the commentary? You're telling me Cox didn't have anything to say? He's not going to be one of those magician filmmakers is he? I hope not. James, if you happen to read this, drop me an email - I'd love to interview you for The Bits.

Highway is an interesting film. The DVD is good but not great, with no extras. That about sums it up. If you're looking for something different at the video store, this isn't a bad flick to check out. It snapped my eyes open for a while at least.

Todd Doogan
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