wed 28/02/2024

DVD: Runaway Train | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: Runaway Train

DVD: Runaway Train

Masculine philosophy meets Alaskan wilderness in an existential thriller as exciting today as it was in 1985

Jon Voight rides fate in Andrei Konchalovsky's Oscar-nominated 'Runaway Train'

Influencing Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity, director Andrei Konchalovsky’s underrated marvel Runaway Train is finally available on crisp Blu-ray: think masculine philosophy meets Alaskan wilderness in an existential thriller as exciting today as it was in 1985.

Two convicts – Oscar “Manny” Manheim (Voight in an Oscar-nominated role) and the beautiful, irritating Buck McGeehy (Eric Roberts, also nominated for an Oscar) – flee an Alaskan high security prison. Only moments ahead of vindictive warden Ranken (John P Ryan), Manny chooses an ominous locomative (the forboding, box-like powerhouse EMD GP7, a model retired by 1954) escape the bleak Alaskan plains. But, of course, fate has other plans for Manny.

Runaway Train is an amalgam of excellence that began with Akira Kurosawa, whose script languished in development for 15 years. That screenplay, based on a true convict story, was re-written by Djordje Milicevic, Pultizer Prize-winner Paul Zindel and Edward Bunker (Mr Blue in Reservoir Dogs and responsible for the authentic prison dialogue here), then augmented by Kurosawa regulars Hideo Oguni and Ryuzo Kikushima. Rounding out a strong cast is Rebecca DeMornay and the debuts of Danny Trejo (in the boxing ring) and Tommy "Tiny" Lister, both familiar faces.

Along with haunting original music by Trevor Jones, it is the genius of the late Alan Hume BSC (Star Wars, Carry On films) whose application of "inkies" (lights ostensibly for actors’ eyes) and deft use of contrast make this film’s visuals absolutely unforgettable. (Hume appears briefly as an extra in the train office.) Sound engineer Ken J. Johnson provided sound effects for both Runaway Train and Tony Scott’s Unstoppable. N.B. Don’t miss the interviews with Konchalovsky and Voight among the quality extras in this seminal must-see movie.

Rounding out a strong cast is Rebecca DeMornay and the debuts of Danny Trejo and Tommy 'Tiny' Lister

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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