DVD: Memory Lane (2012)

November 15, 2015 | By


MemoryLaneFilm:  Weak

Transfer:  Very Good

Extras: Very Good

Label: Wild Eye Releasing / MVD Visual 

Region: 0 (NTSC)

Released:  March 24, 2015

Genre:  Suspense / Thriller

Synopsis: A suicidal war vet has his friends shock himself to near-death states in the hope of mining his subconscious for clue-filled memories that may solve his girlfriend’s recent death.

Special Features:  Audio Commentary with writer-diretor Shawn Holmes / Deleted Scenes with director intro (3:42) / Short Films: “Rockabye” teaser + “Lamp Post” with director intro (5:49) / Promotional Videos: Teaser, Dailies (cast / co-writer) interviews) with director intro (8:35) / Screen Tests (2:46).






Shawn Holmes’ feature film debut is a very ambitious puzzle tale in which Nick Boxer (Michael Guy Allen), an Afghan war vet plagued with PTSD, experiences unusual memory flashes of his dead girlfriend who may not have committed suicide. The kicker? The memory flashes first occurred during his own suicide attempt, seeding a compulsion and gradual addiction (not unlike 1990’s Flatliners) to electrocute himself and experience the moment of death just long enough to glean memories from his subconscious, and return to the world of the living where he can hash out new mysterious revelations with the aide of close friends.

The most intriguing sections address Nick Boxer’s inner demons from a disturbing incident involving a wounded Taliban soldier, and struggling to find some balance in his rural home town when both the war and suicide have displaced his sense of being and purpose, but the film is wildly uneven, largely because there’s a sense Holmes’ trimmed too much during the editing phase to compact the narrative into a 71 minute film while sticking to its fractured blend of flashbacks and present day scenes. Holmes may know the complex story inside & out, but some slices may not resonate as strongly with viewers.

The performances are also quite variable, and a few scenes have a spastic nature (such as Nick’s encounter with a gun-toting thug), and there’s more than a few edits which make the opening scenes a bit of a jumble. (For example, it’s not until later that the girl who rescues Nick from self-electrocution in the bathroom is clarified as his sister, not a new girlfriend.)

The death of lover Kayla (Meg Braden) is clearly the event that pushes Nick over the edge, but she’s also a peculiar combination of classic mystery woman (their first improbable encounter on a bridge at night plays like two ghosts bumping into each other) and grating manic pixie, being wild, crazy, reckless, provocative, and distant in fluctuating waves.

Holmes’ reliance on Pro Scores music software is perhaps the film’s biggest flaw: with the exception of a few somber, sparse instrumental tracks, the bulk of the repetitive thematic cues sound like Hans Zimmer soundalikes from a stock music library that often bear little relation to the emotional ebbs Holmes has carefully choreographed. The decision to apply orchestral grandeur works against the film’s ostensibly intimate story of one man’s desperation to reconnect with a dead loved one and gain closure, and Pro Scores is perhaps an example of why stock music only works when applied with precision, and restraint.

Wild Eye’s DVD features a decent transfer of the film coupled with a straight stereo sound mix, and a solid commentary track where Holmes describes the lengthy process and hurdles in crafting his first feature-length work. Additional extras include a few deleted scenes, promo material, screen tests, a promo short for a proposed feature film (“Rockabye”), and the short film “Lamp Post” (sourced from very low-res material) which revisits the theme of a lost love with fractured images and music.



© 2015 Mark R. Hasan



External References:
Editor’s Blog — IMDB
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Category: Blu-ray / DVD Film Review

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