If you’re going to write a screenplay full of surprising twists and turns, you’d better make sure you don’t repeat yourself within the plotting because you’ll lose your audience if you cover the same ground too many times. David Marconi’s Collision (originally titled Intersections) makes that fatal mistake of repetition and in trying to hide information to make its surprises more impactful, valuable data about the people in the story is never really provided. The film feels strangely incomplete in that with a cast of mostly unlikable people, we’re never clued in satisfactorily on who they really are and why we should root for or against them.
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Run Time: 1 Hr. 41 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, UltraVioletkeep case
Disc Type: BD25 (single layer)
Release Date: 01/28/2014
On their honeymoon in Morocco, wealthy financial analyst Scott Dolan (Frank Grillo) and his wife Taylor (Jaimie Alexander) are having a rocky time. He’s continuing to conduct business, and she feels neglected. Leaving him on his Blackberry, she connects with Travis (Charlie Bewley) who we learn is her lover of several months, and together the two of them are planning to murder Scott the next day in the Sahara Desert and make off with a private account where he’s stashed millions. But Travis’ plan goes awry when Scott takes the RV off the paved road and into the desert, and when he begins to chase the couple, both vehicles are involved in an accident with some other vehicles in the desert which kills a man outright and leaves a couple of others critically wounded. Those surviving are a timid woman Audrey (Marie-Josée Croze) holding a baby, an obvious prisoner (a diamond smuggler) who (because he made sure he killed the injured guard) is now free named Omar (Moussa Maaskri), and Saleh (Roschdy Zem) who had a motorcycle accident in the desert and arrives on the scene of the accident quite coincidentally. With only one vehicle even possibly having the chance of running, the motley group realizes it must work together to get out of the desert alive.
The Production Rating: 2.5/5
Director David Marconi’s script doesn’t take too long in revealing that most of these people are not who they seem nor are their motives quite so clearly defined as being those of mere survival, and the film takes most of its running time to fully reveal the identities of a couple of the characters. There is some tension here with a known killer hiding a gun (Omar), the upsetting love triangle between Scott, Taylor, and Travis unwinding, and the mystery man Saleh never quite declaring himself as a good or bad guy (though we know he does have a gun in an ankle holster, something the other survivors are not aware of). There are also allegiances which ebb and flow as the movie runs, something that’s a bit disconcerting since the untrustworthiness of some of the characters would seem to make them immediately expendable, and yet they’re kept around for no good reason (except for the director to attempt to sustain tension). A key problem, however, is that apart from Saleh (about whom we know too little to decide), these characters are so unlikable that one really don’t care if they survive or not, and late in the film when the focus shifts for no discernible reason from Scott and Taylor to Saleh and Audrey, it’s clear that something’s up: another twist is about to be perpetrated on the viewer who, by this time, is completely exhausted. Marconi also resorts a few times to that tired old trope of injuring a character until he’s prone, the attacker then turns his back, and when he turns around again, the injured party on the ground is gone.
Frank Grillo plays Scott as the kind of smug, slick, entitled person who thinks money is the answer to any situation (of course, it’s also the reason his wife wants to kill him), and his eventual fate is one of the film’s vaguest wrap-ups. There’s nothing vague about Jaimie Alexander’s Taylor: she’s a selfish, manipulative brat who does the most outrageous, infuriating things and then expects to be allowed to get away with them and is outraged when others see through her schemes and thwart her. She’s also never as smart as she thinks she is and earns audience scorn almost from the very beginning. Roschdy Zem is probably the closest the film has to an honorable character though who he is and what his motivations are involve the film’s final surprise. Marie-Josée Croze isn’t quite focused enough as Audrey, and Charlie Bewley doesn’t get enough time to truly develop his character as the duped Travis. Moussa Maaskri makes a fine, up-front villain as blustery Omar.
The film's transfer has been framed at 2.40:1 and is presented in 1080p using the AVC codec. Sharpness is for the most part very, very good, and close-ups reveal plenty of detail. Color is on the brown side (of course, it does take place largely in the desert) but features deep saturation levels (the flashbacks are slightly desaturated of color), and flesh tones are mostly quite tan. Subtitles when they’re used are in white and are easy to read. The film has been divided into 16 chapters.
Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix doesn’t quite milk the atmosphere of the desert, its villages, and cities for everything it could. There are some ambient sounds spread to the surrounds, but they’re few and far between. Richard Horowitz’s music gets a nice spread through the fronts and rears. Dialogue has been mostly well recorded and has been placed in the center channel.
Audio Rating: 4/5
David Marconi Interview (17:51, SD): the writer-director discusses the genesis for his plot and mentions who some of the characters are based on, talks about the film’s spectacular accident stunt which was only done once with seventeen cameras catching the action, and then gives the backstories of the characters of Saleh, Scott, Taylor, Travis, and Omar (information which had it been in the film might have made these characters far more interesting).
Special Features Rating: 2/5
Cast Interviews (4:36, SD): an EPK featurette featuring cast members Frank Grillo, Jaimie Alexander, Marie-Josée Croze, Moussa Maaskri, and Roschdy Zem briefly mentioning who their characters are.
Theatrical Trailer (2:21, SD)
Promo Trailers (HD): Divergent, The Frozen Ground, Empire State, and Escape Plan
Ultraviolet: code sheet enclosed in the case.
Those who like a story filled with unexpected twists and turns (even if they sometimes don’t make much sense or often seem repetitive) may find Collision worth a rental. It’s certainly a beautiful video transfer with above average audio.
Overall Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewed By: Matt Hough
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