'Smash Palace: Special Edition'
(Bruno Lawrence, Anna Jemison, Greer Robson, Keith Aberdein, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1981) 2018 / Arrow Films UK)
Overview: Al Shaw's life revolves around motor racing and his back country junkyard, the "Smash Palace". His French wife, Jacqui, doesn't appreciate the lack of attention due to Al's obsession with cars.
When Al finds her in the arms of another man, he takes his daughter, Georgie and heads for the bush, desperately hoping to hold on to the only family he has left.
Blu-ray Verdict: In my humble opinion, this art-house stunner delivers some amazingly raw and complicated emotions in its early stages, but then gets confused and falls off.
However, this isn't the fault of the actors however, particularly Bruno Lawrence in what should've been a star-making performance. Maybe it's the fact that his character is so morose and troubled (at one point, with the family piled in the car, he pauses on the railroad tracks) that Lawrence wasn't given much credit, and the film failed to find an audience here in the States.
[Spoiler Alert] - The story goes like this ... Bruno Lawrence owns and operates the titular auto wrecking yard, and races cars when he gets the chance. He took over the business when his father died, planning on selling it right away, but has grown to love it and won't sell.
His wife hates it, and hates the fact that Lawrence spends all his time with his cars and his young daughter and none with her. Her displeasure drives her into the arms of Bruno's best friend, and when she leaves, taking his daughter with her, Bruno cracks and kidnaps her.
You seen when he takes their 7-year-old daughter with him it is, without a shadow of a doubt, kidnapping. Ergo, a massive and widespread manhunt ensues. But the girl gets sick and he brings her home. At the end of the day though, neither husband nor wife is right or wrong in terms of their motivation (both are a little of each, for my money); their marriage has just failed.
Anyway, some light relief from all the crazy behavior might've helped, yet the picture has a prickly, compelling edge, and that's surely something the audience can latch onto. Sadly, this melodramatic roller-coaster of emotions does peter out, though for the first hour it showcases a gripping study of human lives. This is a brand new High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:
High Definition (Blu-ray) presentation
Original mono audio (uncompressed LPCM)
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
Commentary by writer-director Roger Donaldson and stunt driver Steve Millen
The Making of Smash Palace, a 51-minute documentary on the film's production featuring interviews with Donaldson, actor Keith Aberdein, filmmaker Geoff Murphy and others
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Ian Barr, a contemporary review by Pauline Kael and the original press book