Written by: Michael Den Boer on December 24th, 2016
BluRay released: December 6th, 2016
Approximate running times: 88 Minutes
Aspect Ratios: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 English, DTS-HD Stereo English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Kino Lorber
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $34.95
Finally, a film with a retro vibe that does not feel as though the filmmaker is trying to bombard you with their cinema influences. This film features a solid premise, the participants of a heist wait for their money to arrive at this film’s central location, an isolated dinner that is on the edge of nowhere. And it is exactly these anxious moments of waiting that make this film so utterly compelling to watch. Not to mention that these moments are also overflowing with tension which builds to a fever pitch by the time this film reaches its moment of truth.
From a production stand point, there is not an area where this film does not deliver and then some. The narrative is well constructed, the characters and their motivations are well-defined and pacing is never an issue as things move forward at a brisk momentum. Another area where this film excels are its visuals which do a tremendous job reinforcing the mood. The film was shot on 16mm and this gives it a deliberate looking look that plays into its aforementioned retro roots. To further set this film out of place or time the set design and clothing that is worn also lend themselves to the aforementioned retro vibe.
As strong as things are in just about every area of this film. The most surprising asset this film has is its remarkable cast who are all great in their respective roles. And without a doubt no performance shines brighter then Jocelin Donahue (The Last Godfather) in the role of this film’s protagonist Laine, a trouble young woman whose will do anything even commit murder to keep her past deeds a secret. Other notable performances include, Kelly Lynch (Drugstore Cowboy) in the role of Luanne, the owner of the dinner and Jim Beaver (Joyride) in the role of Lee, the sadistic ringleader of the heist whose short temper only further makes those around him feel that something is awry. Overall The Frontier is a rock solid thriller that fans of Neo Noir’s are sure to thoroughly enjoy.
The Frontier comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. Shot on super 16mm this transfer does a superb job retaining this film’s intended look. Grain remain intact and there are no issues with DNR or compression.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English and a LPCM stereo mix in English and included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. The audio sounds, clear, balanced and robust when it needs too. Range wise the differences between these two audio mixes is minimal.
Extras for this release include, reversible cover art, a trailer for the film (1 minute 44 seconds), 8mm Behind the Scenes of Frontier (2 minutes 54 seconds), three interviews – the first interview is with actress Jocelin Donahue titled The Stranger (6 minutes), the second interview is with AJ Bowen titled The Law (6 minutes 26 seconds) and the third interview is with Jim Beaver titled The Heavy and an audio commentary with co-screenwriter / director Oren Shai, co-screenwriter Webb Wilcoxen and moderated by Shock Waves podcast’s Elric Kane.
Topics discussed in the interview with Jocelin Donahue include, her character, her thoughts about the screenplay, working with Oren Shai, how the film is told through her characters POV, Louise Brooks performance in Diary of a Lost Girl inspired her performance for this film, on set memories, character wardrobe and her thoughts about the film.
The interviews with AJ Bowen and Jim Beaver cover similar topics and they include, their characters, the screenplay, Oren Shai and their thoughts about the film.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary include, the origins of the film, the cast and information about them, Film Noir and films that inspired this film, the visuals, the score and other production related topics.
Overall The Frontier gets a solid release from Kino Lorber.
Note: This film is also being released by Kino Lorber on DVD.