'The Loveless: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Willem Dafoe, Robert Gordon, Marin Kanter, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (1981) 2019 / Arrow Films UK)
Overview: Trouble ensues when a motorcycle gang stops in a small southern town while heading to the races at Daytona.
The United States, late 1950s. A time of generational conflict, of immense social change, of bold fashions and toe-tapping music.
These are just some of the elements that collide in thrilling fashion in 'The Loveless', the feature debut of both its star, Willem Dafoe (To Live and Die in LA), and its directors, Monty Montgomery (producer, David Lynch's Wild at Heart) and future Academy Award®-winner Kathryn Bigelow (Near Dark, Detroit).
Blu-ray Verdict: In the 1950s, a group of leather-clad bikers led by Vance are on their way to Daytona, Florida to compete in a race, but they get sidetracked into a quiet Georgia town to fix up a broken down bike.
The uptight locals see them as nothing but trouble, and surely enough problems occur. The waitress of the dinner catches Vance's eyes and another being a brash, young teen, Elena.
Wearing black leather never looked so cool! "We're going nowhere… fast" Well, this tag-line accurately describes this sublime, independent feature.
Sure, it's not for everyone's tastes, but I loved this ultra-slick, inventively moody trip through the eyes of a couple of laid-back bikers of the '50s. For some people it might be aimlessly dull, because of the mellow tempo and it consciously ticks a long at a leisurely pace with vast empty spaces.
I found it to be an evocative tale (despite being quite broad) that has a real hypnotic trance surrounding its arrestingly stylish framework that milks out the sullen atmosphere.
There's such an authentic feel about it and so many inspired and iconic imagery seeping off the screen that you can't bear to take your eyes off it.
The film was co-written and co-directed by Kathryn Bigelow and Monty Montgomery in their first major feature. The pairs' profoundly, textured direction, catches every little elegant detail (great use of the soothing neon-lighting and composition) with the guidance of Doyle Smith's crisply spacious cinematography.
Being shot on location really added to the film's natural presence and unattainable free spirit. Story-wise, there's nothing really conventional about it, but just letting the poetically distinctive situations evolve into an impulsively, harrowing conclusion.
The dialogues are rather dry and very sparse with splashes of sly remarks. While, it might not have a lot to say in its context. The stirring visual and music contributions do actually round it off nicely.
A divinely, swish rockabilly soundtrack by Robert Gordon and mostly John Lurie becomes a major part of the scene, as it does shape the swanky feel.
A huge curiosity would be that of William Dafoe's first major feature role and he rings true in a brilliant performance. His confidently, hardened turn simply has you in awe of his on screen magnetism.
There are memorable no-bar performances by Robert Gordon, Tina L'Hotsky, Lawrence Matarese, Danny Rosen and Phillip Kimbrough, who snugly fill the shoes of the tightly rapport biker gang.
Marin Kanter has attitude in her part as, Elena. J. Don Ferguson plays Elena's father, Tarver and brings to the table a character just waiting to crack. Finally, Elizabeth Gans is delightful in her role as the waitress, Augusta.
In closing, this is more than just a basic biker; exploitation movie and I sure loved it. A beautifully, worthy obscure gem that's worth a look for those who enjoy a lot finesse mixed with a touch of enigma. This is a Widescreen (1.85:1) presentation enhanced for 16x9 TVs via a brand new Blu-ray (1080p) presentation and comes with the Special Features of:
Brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative by Arrow Films, approved by co-writer/co-director Monty Montgomery and director of photography Doyle Smith
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original lossless mono audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
New audio commentary with co-writer/co-director Monty Montgomery, moderated by Elijah Drenner
No Man's Friend Today: Making 'The Loveless', new video interviews with actors Willem Dafoe, Marin Kanter, Robert Gordon, Phillip Kimbrough and Lawrence Matarese
U.S. 17: Shooting 'The Loveless', new video interviews with producers Grafton Nunes and A. Kitman Ho
Chrome and Hot Leather: The Look of 'The Loveless', new interviews with production designer Lilly Kilvert and director of photography Doyle Smith
Relentless, new audio interview with musician Eddy Dixon
Extensive image gallery, including on-set photographs, storyboards and original production documentation
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx
+ FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Peter Stanfield