(Nicolas Roeg, 1988)
Release date: 27 May 2019
Limited Blu-ray Edition (World Blu-ray premiere)
The explosive combination of director Nicolas Roeg (Performance, Don’t Look Now, The Man Who Fell to Earth) and writer Dennis Potter (Pennies from Heaven, The Singing Detective) created one of British cinema’s most unique and disquieting works – the hugely underrated Track 29.
Freely adapted from Potter’s BBC TV play Schmoedipus, this unsettling film stars Theresa Russell (Bad Timing, Black Widow) as an unhappy, possibly unstable, housewife who welcomes a young man (Gary Oldman – Prick Up Your Ears, Darkest Hour) into her home when he claims to be her long-lost son...
Ambitious, ambiguous and surreal, Track 29 is a kinky psychological send-up of American mores – a view from the dis-united states of consciousness. The glorious supporting cast includes Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future), Sandra Bernhard (The King of Comedy) and Colleen Camp (The Swinging Cheerleaders).
INDICATOR LIMITED EDITION BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES:
• High Definition remaster
• Original stereo audio
• The BFI Interview with Nicolas Roeg (1994): archival audio recording of the celebrated filmmaker in conversation at London’s National Film Theatre
• Audio commentary with filmmaker and historian Jim Hemphill
• Interview with actor Colleen Camp (2019)
• Interview with editor Tony Lawson (2019): Roeg’s long-time collaborator talks about Track 29 and his work with the late, great filmmaker
• Original theatrical trailer
• Image gallery: on-set and promotional photography
• New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• Limited edition exclusive booklet with a new essay by critic and broadcaster Danny Leigh, Dennis Potter and Theresa Russell on Track 29, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits
• World premiere on Blu-ray
• Limited Edition of 3,000 copies
• All extras subject to change
BBFC cert: 18
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While I am not entirely sure that this film works, I am looking forward to finally getting the chance to retire by 23 year old VHS tape with a recorded from television copy of the film! It also struck me that whilst Theresa Russell of course had been appearing in major roles in Roeg's films for almost a decade by this point, this might actually be the first time where the character that she is playing is the one with a central control over the structure of the film from beginning to end (in Bad Timing the focus is more on Garfunkle's character, which is arguably what causes Milena the most distress of all, in being projected upon. And whilst her Actress is the main figure of the central section of Insignificance in that film the flashback-reminiscences are split between four major characters). The film following this, Cold Heaven from 1991, is the other one where Russell takes on that central role for the entire film, with everything else being support for her character.
I know that I have been rather lukewarm on the film as a whole but it is certainly worth watching and there is at least one magnificent sequence that has stuck in my mind, in which a neighbour pops round for an afternoon chat and gossip, presumably about the affairs that their respective spouses are having (anticipating Desperate Housewives!), but gets much more insight than she was bargaining for as Russell's character launches into the central, explanatory traumatic flashback to her teenage carnival experience and events following on from it. Just the neighbour's reaction shot as we come out of the reminiscence and her somewhat flustered quick exit from the scene whilst Russell is still sitting there somewhat in a daze is very amusing!
You could argue Gary Oldman's character controls things more as the active intruder into the dull, failing marriage but of course to say why his character is more subordinate than Russell's would mean spoiling the twist!