Nicolas Roeg

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Big Ben
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2016 12:54 pm
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Re: Nicolas Roeg

#51 Post by Big Ben » Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:01 pm

Cobpyth wrote:I am desperately looking for a copy of Roeg's Castaway. Does anyone know if there has ever been a proper DVD release or if it has ever streamed (or is still streaming) on a certain site? Is there a reason why it's so hard to find, compared to Roeg's other films?

Has anyone here ever seen it in a respectable quality? How was it?

There's a Region 2 release of Castaway from Germany here on Amazon if you really need to see it and have the tech to watch it.

Side note his film Track 29 is available on Filmstruck if you're down for that. I've seen neither Castaway or Track 29 but the general consensus I've seen from most folks I've had any discussion with is that Eureka is the last real balls to the wall Roeg film and even that's a debatable film in my opinion (Parts of it are great and some parts are special to say the least.).

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Re: Nicolas Roeg

#52 Post by MichaelB » Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:06 pm

I preferred Track 29 to Castaway, but was still massively disappointed. But I will put in a good word for Two Deaths and Puffball - I suspect it helped that I watched the latter in the company of my wife, a midwife massively into paganism, but it is at least recognisably Roegian.

And The Witches is wonderful, of course.

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Re: Nicolas Roeg

#53 Post by zedz » Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:23 pm

I found Castaway perplexingly staid, given its potential to revisit the glories of Walkabout. There was some slightly interesting camerawork towards the end, as I recall, but that seemed less a case of aesthetic inspiration than a desperate workaround for the inability to make Oliver Reed look emaciated.

Track 29 is just a massive misfire, in my opinion, though kind of an interesting one in the way it brazenly relocates Dennis Potter's original play to an American setting, with all its baked-in Englishness (toy trains, sexual mores) defiantly unchanged. Plenty of cognitive dissonance, but not of the kind you used to get through Roeg's characteristic shooting and editing play. The real auteurs of the film are Potter and whoever demanded the geographic upheaval.

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Mr. Deltoid
Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2011 8:32 am

Re: Nicolas Roeg

#54 Post by Mr. Deltoid » Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:10 pm

A huge Roeg fan since my late teens, but I never knew that it was Nic that had directed the iconic 80's AIDS commercial Don't Die Of Ignorance. That's from the same period as Castaway and Track 29 and indisputably reached more people than either of them.
I actually like Track 29, despite it's faults. It's a strange, dislocated film (mostly to do with - as Zedz points out - the perversion of Potter's source), but it has flashes (disruptions?) of the old style, like Christopher Lloyds rallying sermon intercut with Roegian images of sensuality and violence. As a completist, I'd certainly buy a nice Blu-Ray if one turned up. But then, I'd also do the same for Cold Heaven as well!

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Re: Nicolas Roeg

#55 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Jan 20, 2018 5:17 am

The ending of Insignificance (major spoilers!) is the last 'balls to the wall' Roeg sequence as far as I'm concerned, but there are still moments of interest in everything that came later. Just tackle all of the earlier films first!

I would also make a case for Cold Heaven which also has a few old-style Roeg editing touches which the rest of the more straightforward films from this period lack - the match cut between the face of a dead person covered by a sheet to the silhouette of hills against a white sky for instance. And its the last Theresa Russell performance in a Roeg film (she's magnificent in the very difficult central role). Its a film that really needs to get unearthed again at some point. I even wouldn't object to a Criterion release (though of course Eureka should be more of a priority), even if it might be met with less passion than Insignificance!

The problem with Cold Heaven is that its religious guilt-ghost possession theme is eventually rather silly (and mostly involves Don Johnson rolling around ashen faced in a hotel room), so it does not bear comparison to Don't Look Now. (Beyond any spiritual dimension it mostly just left me thinking that the Virgin Mary was a bit of a jerk!) But if you are a fan of Roeg's films and have seen all the others, I would certainly recommend it. Faster than I would recommend Castaway (though that film has a fantastic bait and switch! Come for the Amanda Donohoe nudity! Instead see all the Oliver Reed nudity!) or Track 29 (though that film is gloriously demented! And does feature a strange dentist themed sub-dom sex scene between Sandra Bernhard and Christopher Lloyd!)

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John Cope
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Re: Nicolas Roeg

#56 Post by John Cope » Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:39 am

I absolutely love Track 29 and have seen it many times over the years. It's among my very favorite Roeg pics, though admittedly they're all pretty idiosyncratic picks (Full Body Massage, for instance, is probably my favorite Roeg of all even though his signature style is dialed way down for that one). What I love about Track 29 though is exactly and especially the collaboration between Roeg and Potter which I think brings forth some properly explosive results, enhancing and intensifying what is already intense about both their work. Russell and Oldman are utterly superb; it's career best work from the two of them as far as I'm concerned, struggling with very difficult characters in some very difficult terrain. As to Cold Heaven, I like it a lot too though it pales compared to the superb source novel by Brian Moore who also wrote the similarly themed Catholics, which was turned into an excellent film by Jack Gold.

I'd also recommend for those interested to read Paul Theroux's great novel Chicago Loop which was supposed to have been turned into a film by Roeg in the early 90's (he got as far as lining up James Spader and Russell for the leads and supposedly a script was finished by Theroux himself). The book is Theroux's take on Crime and Punishment and it's extraordinarily powerful as a terse and caustic American version. It's hard not to imagine what Roeg and company could have done with it and be deeply disappointed it never happened.

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