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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Roadkill (1989)

Roadkill (1989)


Picture: C+†††† Sound: C+†††† Extras: A†††† Film: B



I really enjoyed this movie, and Iím not entirely sure why.  Bruce McDonaldís first feature length movie can be amateurish at times, pretty much on the level of a college film.  Itís largely incoherent and thrown together haphazardly - but it is enjoyable.  Those making it had a lot of fun, and it really shows through.


Apparently, much of the same cast and crew came back together in 1991 to make his next movie, Highway 61, so you can tell things were close-knit.  There are some interesting cameos - including Joey Ramone and Nash the Slash (he also composed the soundtrack).  A sticker on the box proudly touts JoeyĎs appearance, and although his time onscreen is memorable and funny, Iíd say that he clocks in for less than a minute of camera time.


The soundtrack includes a lot of cool stuff - the most well known bands on here are The Ramones and Cowboy Junkies, but it also introduced me to some new artists as well.  Iíve looked up as much as I could find on Nash the Slash, which wasnít very hard, as it seems heís well known in Canada.  The majority of his work doesnít match what you see him performing on stage in here - though that song can be found on his latest studio album, Thrash.  Some people who are turned onto his music through this film may be disappointed if they dig into his catalogue looking for more of the same.  However, I was very pleasantly surprised to find that heís quite diverse and also creates scores for some silent films (sadly, I recently missed an opportunity to see him perform his score for Nosferatu live in Toronto).


Nashís score here is effective, but there are many rock songs throughout by other bands.  I think it was Leslie Spit Tree-O that makes a live appearance in here as well, but Iím not familiar with them either.  If nothing else, this movie is a good exercise in broadening your musical horizons.  The sound here is clean, but is only Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo.  I canít blame them for not upgrading it to surround sound, as this was a low budget movie to start with, and primary focus is on the music - which stereo handles just fine.


The monochrome picture here isnít the greatest, but I donít think itís the fault of transfer - like I said, it was low budget, so the camerawork isnít always that great and choice of film stock was likely limited.  There is some smart photography used in some scenes, as pointed out in the commentary - cheap and easy methods of getting professional looking results.  Most noted was the appearance of a crane shot, actually accomplished by just standing on the roof of a building and panning the camera.


The extras here are pretty nice for a movie not really noted by the mainstream - thereís at least one trailer, along with two short films also by Bruce McDonald.  It wouldíve been nice to have some of the songs available in their entirety separate from the movie - but thatís not usually standard practice anyway.  Thereís a full-length commentary as well - itís actually pretty fun to listen to for a while, but as the movie progresses, they run out of things to say in some spots.  Still worth listening to even though the director wasnít present for the session.


I do recommend this DVD, itís a great presentation and I can see watching it again sometime.  Though I havenít checked the retail price on it, Iím sure it canít be anymore than 20 dollars - which may be a bit much for a movie youíre not entirely familiar with, but I think itíd be worth the risk in this case.  After watching this, I wish Iíd have picked up a copy of Hard Core Logo when I had the chance.  I canít say Iíd enjoy everything by this director, but it wouldíve been nice to check out, even just out of curiosity.



-†† David Milchick


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