Tuesday, June 24, 2014



Label: Redemption Films

Region Code: A
Duration:  110 Minutes
Rating: Unrated
Audio: English LPCM 2.0
Video: 1080p Widescreen (1.66:1)
Director: Pete Walker
Cast: James Aubrey, Alision Elliot, Mark Burns, Juliet Harmer, Debbie linden, Chris Jagger 

At first glance HOME BEFORE MIDNIGHT (1979) doesn't seem to be the usual Pete Walker shocker - but only on the surface. Ginny (Allison Elliot) is a sweet young woman who is picked-up while hitchhiking by songwriter Mike (James Aubrey)and the two have great chemistry and a sexual relationship unfolds. weeks later and quite by accident the 28 year-old songwriter discovers his lover is only 14 years and despite his better judgment and initial horrified reaction he continues to engage with the young woman.

Soon after her protective parents become aware of their young daughters sexual activity with the older man and then the police are brought in to investigate the accusation. Her father is strongly pursuing a criminal case against the young man while her mother is somewhat more sympathetic believing her daughter may not be the victim everyone else suspects her to be. At first you have some sympathy for the young woman as she is urged by both father and authorities to say she was raped - which she clearly was not. She's embarrassed to admit the truth and therefore presses on with rape charges only somewhat reluctantly. As the film rolls on she becomes quite a bit less sympathetic as she paints herself as the victim and the future of Mike becomes more and more grim. 

Walker spices up what amounts to a melodrama with a peppering of salacious sexual scenes which make you feel pretty damn dirty once we discover that Ginny is a minor - once this is made clear the film does not ease up - the sexual encounters while not super sleazy are lurid and voyeuristic. I can see why the film was provocative at the time as the young woman is made to be the villain while at the same time it's hard to forgive Mike for continuing the relationship once he realized the age of the young girl. It makes for an interesting watch with lots of tension and frustration as Mike is loses the faith of friends and family in the wake of the rape allegation. 

A bit of a departure for Walker with no shock elements to it - no sudden outburst of violence - but there is a moral complexity to it mixed in with some fleeting moments of sexploitation. Walker sets up some interesting questions that might make you squirm but the courtroom finale was a bit of a letdown as he doesn't follow-up on a few of the more intriguing dramatic elements set up early in the film such as Ginny's doubting mother and a best friend of Ginny's who knows the truth of the matter but chooses to remain silent. 

Redemption Films present the film in it's original widescreen aspect ratio (1.66:1) with a new HD transfer that is quite nice but not amazing. The grain structure is nicely intact and natural in appearance but the cinematography is a bit sift-focus and gauzy in it's presentation, fine detail and sharpness suffer for it but this is a stylistic choice on the part of the filmmaker and not the transfer. The print itself is in decent shape with only minor instances of white speckling and print damage. The LPCM English audio is decent but unremarkable. At times the volume shoots from low to high with the soundtrack music but overall a decent presentation with occasional audio hiss and the high-end treble can be at bit annoying at times. 

Extras on the disc include an 11-minute interview with director Pete Walker and a selection of Walker trailers. Not a ton but the interview is quite good as Walker discusses the casting of the film and it's themes and the usual beating he received from critics at the time, owning up to the fact is was the wrong film for him to make at the time. 

A very interesting entry in the canon of director Pete Walker - it might not be everyones cup of tea as it strays a bit from what one has come to expect from the director but as a slightly exploitative melodrama that begs a few difficult questions - none of which it answers - it's a damn decent watch.