- Jul 6, 2003
Running Time: 96 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16x9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)
Subtitles: English, French, and Spanish
Audio: English – Dolby Digital 5.1
November 9th, 2004
More love story than noir thriller, which it tries to disguise itself as, Lost Junction, directed by Peter Masterson, opens with a young man named Jimmy McGee (Billy Burke) standing by the road just outside the small town of Lost Junction, his car rendered useless due to an undisclosed mechanical issue. Little does Jimmy know that this simple thing will soon change his life forever…when beautiful Southern belle Missy Lofton (Neve Campbell) pulls up in a classic convertible and offers him a lift.
After hopping into her car, Jimmy begins chatting with Missy, and within minutes the two develop a comfortable rapport. In fact, Missy quickly becomes comfortable enough with Jimmy to invite him back to her house (platonically). Subsequently, after the local mechanic tells Jimmy it will take a few days to repair his car, Missy offers Jimmy a room, and asks that he accompany her to the bank. Now this is where things begin to get weird, as (in front of Jimmy) she asks the manager to withdraw all the money in her account, which appears to be a joint account she holds with her husband “Doc”, so that Jimmy can get a much needed kidney transplant. Of course, this is all hogwash, but although Jimmy is surprised, he quietly plays along.
No matter though, for since “Doc” is not present, and Missy wants all the money in cash, the bank manager becomes suspicious and soon has the law snooping around Mrs. Lofton’s residence. To avoid this unwanted attention (and for another reason), Missy talks Jimmy, who is growing quite fond of her, into embarking on a road trip to New Orleans. Eventually, after several near run-ins with the authorities, she also tells him that “Doc” is really dead! But the real kicker is that the man has been stuffed into a plastic bag in the trunk of the car they have been traveling in!
At this point, the shell-shocked Jimmy’s mind reels, and not knowing what to make of the situation, he wonders whether Missy killed him or not, even though she claims innocence. As Jimmy would come to learn, it would be a long road to the truth, as the intensely stubborn Missy refusing to fill in all of the blanks in the story. What Jimmy does learn upon finally reaching New Orleans, however, is that Missy has become mixed up with a shady character named Porter (Charles Powell), who appears to have his eyes on her money.
To unravel this puzzling mystery, and determine whether or not Missy was the one who killed Doc, Jimmy heads back to his hometown, to enlist the help of his wheelchair-bound friend, Matt (Jake Busey). As is revealed early in the film, Jimmy is responsible for Matt’s handicap, but the relationship he developed with Missy forced him to finally face up to Matt again, to attempt to reconcile their friendship. Of course, the reconciliation does occur – and quickly - allowing the two friends to head back to New Orleans to do a little detective work. The question is: Will they be able to unravel the mystery before the authorities catch up with them?
All in all, it is a decent enough film to make it worth a rental on a lazy weekend afternoon, but I think it falls a little short as either a thrilling murder-mystery or a love story, despite decent work from both Neve Campbell and Billy Burke. Why, you ask? Well, aside from being able to see the “twist ending” coming, the characters are never in any real danger in this film, so there is not much in the way of suspense. Moreover, the noir/thriller aspects of the film seem to exist only to develop the romantic relationship between Jimmy and Missy.
Secondly, the characters in the film behave completely according to convention. For instance, Jimmy remains the femme-fatale-lite Missy’s whipping boy for the better part of the picture, as he tags along with her even though it appears as though he has been lied to and dragged into a murder investigation. On a related note, the supporting performances are barely decent, but since Burke and Campbell eat up most of the screen time, this doesn’t harm the film too much.
Finally, I also I found it rather easy to predict the outcome of the film, and some of the “buddy” scenes between Jimmy and Matt played out as either contrived or unintentionally comedic. Again, it is not a terrible film, but basically, Lost Junction offers little more than a by-the-numbers romance that just happens to involve a murder, a road-trip, and other watered-down noir elements. If you really like either of the lead actors, you may wish to consider a purchase, but if not, you might want to consider renting first!
SO, HOW DOES IT LOOK?
Presented by MGM in a widescreen aspect ratio (1.85:1), anamorphically enhanced for 16x9 displays, Lost Junction looks quite good on DVD. The best news is that the image does not contain any compression artifacts, noticeable edge enhancement, or print damage (other than the odd speck). Detail is also plentiful in the mid/foreground of shots, with the textures of the characters’ wardrobes evident throughout, to offer one example. Further, although background detail is slightly more obscured, it is still above average.
Colors are also well drawn, particularly the lush greens of the South (or whatever locale substituted for it), and other bright colors, which are nicely saturated but do not bleed into each other. Flesh tones are also warm and natural in appearance, and whites are clean and crisp. Black levels are another positive aspect of the transfer, remaining deep, consistent, and free of any noticeable low-level noise. As you might expect, that leads to an image that has a satisfying level of depth and very good shadow delineation.
In weighing all of the evidence, I conclude that this is a very good transfer, as it presents the source material in a manner that not only takes nothing away from the film, but is satisfying as well. Not reference quality, but still very nice.
WHAT IS THAT NOISE?
Very little surprise here, just a solid, by-the-numbers presentation of Lost Junction’s audio information, via Dolby Digital 5.1. Since there is a lot of talking in this film, the most important consideration is whether or not dialogue is catered to in the transfer. By my estimation it has been, as the characters’ speech is not only natural sounding but always audible.
This is a fairly quiet film, and a front-heavy mix, which is appropriate for the source material. As such, the rear channels are not emphasized much, but they do provide some support to the score, and convincingly create the illusion that you are outdoors with Missy and Jimmy when the occasion calls for it. Speaking of the score, it is reproduced cleanly, as are effects and ambient sounds. Similar to the rear channels, the LFE channel does not see too much action, but during a few key moments in the film, bass response is both powerful and controlled.
Overall, this is an adequate soundtrack, and like the video, it does a better than average job of recreating the film’s audio information.
The original theatrical trailer for Lost Junction is included.
Trailers are available for Walking Tall Wicker Park, Saved!, Unspeakable and Intermission, as is a promotional piece entitled “MGM Means Great Movies”. In addition, cover art for Manic, Truly, Madly, Deeply, Jeepers Creepers 1 & 2, Prizzi’s Honor, and Pieces of April is included.
(on a five-point scale)
Film: :star: :star: :star:
Video: :star: :star: :star: :star:
Audio: :star: :star: :star: :star:
Overall: :star: :star: :star:
THE LAST WORD
It is somewhat misleadingly marketed, rather predictable, and certainly not the most suspenseful murder-mystery out there, but Lost Junction is not a terrible movie. The DVD is a barebones release, but the video and audio portions of the disc are solid, which serves the movie well. Granted, since the strongest assets are the performances by Neve Campbell and Billy Burke, it may have the most appeal to their fans. Even then however, I am not sure it is a film that warrants repeat viewings, and others (those with no particular allegiance to Neve Campbell or Billy Burke) will probably want to consider whether to even rent.