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H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Red Rock West [Blu-ray]


(John Dahl, 1993)


Three Blu-rays of Red Rock West are compared HERE





Coming to the UK on Blu-ray by Signal One in August 2022:


Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: PolyGram Filmed Entertainment

Video: Concorde Video



Region: 'B'-locked (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:38:39.496

Disc Size: 23,023,919,790 bytes

Feature Size: 21,537,312,768 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.00 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: February 16th, 2016



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1784 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1784 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

DUB: DTS-HD Master Audio German 1568 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1568 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)





None (trailers for other films)





Description: John Dahl directed and co-wrote (along with his brother Rick Dahl) this quirky and energetic film noir that, after a well-received screening at the Toronto Film Festival, was consigned to oblivion before resurfacing on cable television. When the owner of a San Francisco movie theater, who was a big fan of the film, arranged for a theatrical release, the film clicked and toured the country as an art house hit. The film concerns eternal loser Michael (Nicolas Cage), down to his last five dollars and looking for work. He finds himself at a bar in the town of Red Rock. The bartender, Wayne (J.T. Walsh) eyes him suspiciously and asks him, "You must be Lyle, from Dallas." Michael, eager to earn some cash, agrees. It seems Wayne has a job for Michael, but what Michael doesn't realize until too late is that the job is to kill Wayne's wife for $10,000. Michael heads out to Wayne's farm with the cash to warn Wayne's wife, Suzanne (Lara Flynn Boyle). Suzanne responds by offering to double Michael's fee if he will kill her husband instead. Michael takes the money and tries to leave town, but when a thunderstorm comes up, he runs over a man who was trying to flag him down. The sheriff arrives on the scene to attend to matters -- who turns out to be Wayne. Wayne proceeds to drive Michael out of town for an execution, but Michael manages to elude him. Flagging down a driver on the road who is driving back into Red Rock, they return to the bar, where the driver offers to buy Michael a drink. As Michael accepts the offer of a drink, he realizes that he is drinking with the real "Lyle from Dallas" (Dennis Hopper) who is awaiting Wayne's return.



The Film:

"Red Rock West" would probably have been on a lot of film critics' best-of lists last year -- if any of them had seen it. For some reason, though, no one could figure out a way to market this deliciously noirish film by director John Dahl, who wrote it with his brother Rick. It played overseas and has just come out on video, but after being rescued theatrically by a San Francisco art house, "Red Rock West" gets a belated showcase at the Key. It may now find the audience it clearly deserves.

The film bears some solid comparisons: to the Coen brothers' "Blood Simple" and "Raising Arizona" (but absent the overt artiness) and David Lynch's "Blue Velvet" and "Twin Peaks" (absent the surreal edges). The connections are underscored by the appearance of Coen/Lynch favorites Dennis Hopper, Nicolas Cage and Lara Flynn Boyle and a plot with so many twists, turns and loopy loops you'll be convinced it was conceived on a roller coaster ride by someone familiar with noir novelist Jim Thompson.

Excerpt from TheWashingtOnPost located HERE

The synopsis doesn’t do justice to the multiple twists and turns in Dahl’s superb blending of the noir and Western genres. But to give away too much would be to ruin the pleasure for first-time viewers of a film where you’re never quite sure what’s going to happen next – or whether any of the main characters is quite who they seem.

In only his second feature (co-written with his brother Rick) Dahl takes the stock characters of classic noir – the drifter with a good heart but not too much upstairs, the femme fatale, the rich overlord, the implacable assassin – and dumps them in the vastness of the American West, leaving them to turn on each other in a series of plot developments ingenious enough to keep even the most seasoned whodunnit veteran guessing but just believable enough to keep the whole edifice from crashing down under the weight of its essential implausibility.

Excerpt fromEyeForFilm located HERE

Three Blu-rays of Red Rock West are compared HERE


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Red Rock West, another cracking John Dahl neo-noir (see our reviews of The Last Seduction, Unforgettable, Kill Me Again) - and this may be his best - is on Blu-ray from Concorde Video out of Germany.  The transfer looks good. It's only single-layered with a reasonable bitrate but the resulting image quality is strong with good contrast, detail and depth. The Blu-ray colors seem authentic and I was very pleased with my viewing. Excellent news.




















Audio :

Audio is transferred to a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1784 kbps (16-bit) and an optional German DUB. There are some aggressive effects with gunshots and fighting sequences. They carry some depth and the score is by William Olvis (Dahls' Kill Me Again, and aside from Red Rock West has participated almost exclusively in TV work.) It supports the film dark moods quite well and sounds clean and moody in the lossless. Dialogue is consistent and audible. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.


Extras :

None except some unrelated trailer.



Remember when Nicholas Cage made good films? Red Rock West is such an appealing neo-noir - perhaps by favorite from Dahl - who has directed some gems. A noble protagonist enticed by money, corrupt law-enforcement and an unfaithful, gold-digging, femme-fatale. It's filled with twists and suspenseful turns - I LOVED it! I'm so happy to have seen this on Blu-ray. Fans of this style/genre should consider this a must-own. 

Gary Tooze

April 20th, 2016


Three Blu-rays of Red Rock West are compared HERE





Coming to the UK on Blu-ray by Signal One in August 2022:



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Gary Tooze

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