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Surveillance - Magnet Releasing Print E-mail
User Rating: / 0
Written by Chris Mayo   
Thursday, 10 September 2009

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Directed by: Jennifer Lynch
Written by: Kent Harper, Jennifer Lynch
Produced by: Kent Harper, Marco Mehlitz, David Michaels
Cinematography by: Peter Wunstorf
Editing by: Daryl K. Davis
Music by: Todd Bryanton
Cast: Bill Pullman, Julia Ormond, Ryan Simpkins, Pell James, French Stewart, Kent Harper, Michael Ironside
Year: 2008
Country: USA
Language: English
Color: Color
Runtime: 97 Minutes

Video: NTSC R1
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, 2.0
Official Website:

A bunch of vicious murders have been occurring in a small town.  FBI agents Sam Hallaway (Bill Pullman) and Elizabeth Anderson (Julia Ormond) arrive to sort things out.  They show up at a local police precinct, run by Captain Billings (Michael Ironside), and set up three interrogation rooms equipped with cameras to monitor what unfolds.  One of the witnesses is Stephanie (Ryan Simpkins), a little girl whose family has been murdered.  Another is Bobbi (Pell James) a strung-out woman (the party girl) whose love interest has been killed.  Lastly is hard-headed police officer Jack Bennett, whose partner Jim Conrad (played by the squinty-eyed guy from Third Rock from the Sun, French Stewart) has been recently slain as well.  One by one each person recalls their story as Agent Hallaway monitors them from another room.  As they tell their stories, the viewer finds out what actually occurred through these varying views… until the final conclusion.

Surveillance has a bunch of things going for it.  The characters are well thought out; it has some somewhat disturbing situations, and the inner workings of some great suspense.  However the film wears out its welcome.  It takes far too long to unfold, leaving the viewer essentially unknowing right until the bitter end.  It isn’t even as if the viewer is thrown a bone here or there.  There really aren’t any red herrings as to who has been committing the murder.  When the murder is revealed it isn’t very rewarding because there was no buildup.  The film just up and tells you who the murderer is without any use of viewer detective work, so-to-speak.

This film has some memorable moments; it’s just that the film falls flat.  It’s essentially a mediocre movie with some really cool situations.  The best performances come from French Stewart and Kent Harper who play the two cops.  These guys are the epitome of scumbag crooked cops.  They spend their days off to the side of the highway waiting for unsuspecting motorists, shoot their tires out and proceed to fuck with them mercilessly. called Surveillance “twisted and disturbing”, and due to these folks it is, well sort of.  The typical movie viewer may find the despicable actions of the police officers extremely disturbing, and I would be in agreement to some extent, but Cannibal (the film based on German cannibal murderer Armin Meiwes), or August Underground this film isn’t.

Surveillance marks director Jennifer Lynch’s (David Lynch’s daughter) first film in 15-years.  While it has its moments, it ends up rather dull when all is said and done.  Perhaps there is a reason for such a long interval between films.  Perhaps she should have stayed away from the director’s chair altogether.  Surveillance isn’t a terrible film -- it’s just not great either.  There might be some who are enthralled by this, but I’m not one of them.  Although, did I mention that there was a pretty cool headshot that would bring a smile to the face of Lucio Fulci?  If you blink though, you’ll miss it.

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- Surveillance: The Watched are Watching
- HDNet: A Look at Surveillance
- Deleted Scenes
- Alternate Ending
- Commentary

Surveillance comes to DVD from Magnet Releasing and Magnolia Home Entertainment with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio and visually looks perfect.  There are two options for audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 and is standard for this audio format.  In the special features department we get ‘Surveillance: The Watched are Watching’ which is a 15-minute featurette on the making of the film.  A highlight is director Jennifer Lynch recalling her father David Lynch telling her after reading the script “you are the sickest bitch I know”.  ‘HDNet: A Look at Surveillance’ is a short promotional featurette from the channel.  There are two deleted scenes and an alternate ending, which was best left out of the film.  The supplemental features also contain a commentary by director Jennifer Lynch and actors Mac Miller and Charlie Newmark.  Rounding out the disc are trailers for other Magnolia releases: Mutant Chronicles, Julia, The Girlfriend Experience, and Food, Inc.

VIDEO: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen 1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema
AUDIO: Dolby Digital 5.1, 2.0 1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed CinemaNo Skull - Severed Cinema
DVD: Magnet Releasing, Magnolia 1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema
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