Forgotten Friday Flick – “Surveillance”

Dark wondrous cinematic wares from women continue this week with a look at another movie helmed by a talented female filmmaker – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick.  This week’s selection proves that some filmmakers do indeed get better with age.  Case in point is Boxing Helena filmmaker and daughter of wizard of weird Jennifer Lynch, who after making the half-decent film with an unfortunately atrocious ending over fifteen years earlier, went on to create one disturbing, thought provoking and totally lingering piece of celluloid.  That’s the film we focus on this week – an unsettling story that can be dissected with just the right…Surveillance.

A troubled and confusing incident on an empty stretch of highway involving a family, two criminals and police with cars damaged, bodies found and mayhem has occurred.  But with many witnesses reporting different aspects, the events seen differently through multiple eyes of those still left alive, it’s a puzzle to put together what really happened.  So FBI agents are called in to assist local law enforcement and assess the situation to uncover the truth.

I’m not revealing a single stitch more, as the unweaving of the web that is Surveillance is its beauty.  With the opening of each twisted story petal, the film plays out like a budding black rose, revealing new and shocking truths with each unfolding.  And while leads Bill Pullman (already a Lynch family alum via Lost Highway!) and Julia Ormond as the two determined FBI agents provide seriously unforgettable turns, the film is essentially at its core an amazing piece of ensemble work.  From the great Michael Ironside as an earnest head sheriff to the haunting work from young witness Ryan Simpkins and even strong dramatic work by normally comedic actors French Stewart and Cheri Oteri, all here are poignant pawns in a game ala Jennifer Lynch you won’t be able to take your eyes off of.  And hats off to Lynch, who does wisely incorporate some of her dad’s signature weirdness (he even has a tasty twisted song over the end credits!), but ultimately dons her own creepy compelling style – it’s great work.

Jennifer has since gone on to continue working behind the camera on a ton of TV shows (her ass-kicking “Carol gone rogue” helmed episode JSS on The Walking Dead was the best of Season 6!), but frankly I feel like there’s probably many more dark tales of woe that the daughter Lynch could bring to the feature film forum.  At least there’s proof in the movie pudding via Surveillance that shows the gifted gal has the goods.  But do note, Surveillance is not for the faint of heart and there is a heavy amount of sadistic stuff within.  But for those who dare to survey the vast plains of a new and improved Jennifer Lynch at play, the darkness is delightfully delicious.


I'm a passionate and opinionated film critic/movie journalist with over 20 years of experience in writing about film - now exclusively for WhySoBlu.com. Previous sites include nine years at Starpulse.com where I created Forgotten Friday Flick back in 2011, before that as Senior Entertainment Editor for The213.net and 213 Magazine, as well as a staff writer for JoBlo.com. My other love is doing cool events for the regular guy with my company Flicks For Fans alongside my friend, partner and Joblo.com writer James "Jimmy O" Oster. Check us out at www.Facebook.com/FlicksForFans.

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