Review: Track 29
Blu-ray: Track 29 (1988)
Adapted from Dennis Potter’s BBC TV play Schmoedipus, director Nicolas Roeg crafts a disturbing, and at times head scratching, narrative that often keeps you guessing at what is real and what is imagined.
Linda (Theresa Russell) is an unhappy, alcoholic, and possibly delusional, housewife whose life changes when Martin (Gary Oldman) appears at a diner and then stalks her claiming to be her son who was taken from her at birth.
Is it really her son? Is he really there at all? These and many more questions are thrown at you during Track 29, and not all of them are answered definitively either.
The performances are good throughout, especially from Oldman who oozes charm and a latent evil in equal measure…despite sporting a ‘curtains’ haircut that makes you want to take a pair of scissors to it. Though the Southern accents, especially by Theresa Russell, are terrible and often verge on laughable.
Martin appears as if by magic (much like the shopkeeper in Mr Ben…surely a reference which will separate the age groups reading this!) besides a roadside bridge and waits for someone to stop and pick him up.
From the very beginning this makes you question the reality of his character, especially when the first car that comes around the corner drives past him as though he wasn’t there.
It’s established early that Linda is in a bad relationship with her husband Henry (Christopher Lloyd), a man so obsessed with his expansive train set that it has cost his emotional attachment to most anything, or anyone, else.
Looking for love and attention, even if it is from her possible offspring, Linda is led down a path that spirals out of control with dire consequences for all involved.
Track 29 is ambiguous, surreal, kinky (want to see ‘Dr. Emmett Brown’ get spanked by a nurse…you got it!), yet it is also confusing, bizarre, and occasionally boring.
Nicolas Roeg isn’t known for pumping out mainstream fare, yet this seems weird, even for him!
One for Roeg fans and people who like to explore narrative possibilities after viewing.
A superb set of special features help to answer some of the questions, yet also pose even more…in a good way.
- High Definition remaster
- Original stereo audio
- The NFT Interview with Nicolas Roeg(1994, 68 mins): archival audio recording of the celebrated filmmaker in conversation at London’s National Film Theatre
- Audio commentary with filmmaker and historian Jim Hemphill
- Postcards from Cape Fear (2019, 18 mins): actor Colleen Camp recalls the experience of working with Nicolas Roeg
- On the Right Track (2019, 10 mins): editor and longtime Roeg collaborator Tony Lawson discusses the construction of the film
- An Air of Mystery (2019, 6 mins): costume designer Shuna Harwood details the distinctive look of Track 29
- Buzz and Gossip (2019, 15 mins): sound mixer David Stephenson reflects on the challenges of making the film
- Isolated music & effects track
- Original theatrical trailer
- Image gallery: promotional and publicity material
- New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
- Limited edition exclusive 36-page booklet with a new essay by Danny Leigh, Dennis Potter and Theresa Russell on Track 29, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits
- World premiere on Blu-ray
- Limited Edition of 3,000 copies
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