USA, 2008, 90 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Adult, Crime, Detective/Mystery, Horror, Thriller
After taking a fourteen-year break in the wake of the clamor that surrounded her feature debut, Boxing Helena, Jennifer Chambers Lynch has returned to prove that filmmaking is in her blood—however curdled. The starkly sinister, Rashomon-esque thriller Surveillance must surely do her auteur father David Lynch (serving here as executive producer) proud.
Two FBI agents (Bill Pullman and Julia Ormond) follow a trail of grisly killings across the country to a rural police station where three witnesses to yet another horrible crime are being held: a wounded officer, a traumatized little girl, and a young female drug addict. As the agents interrogate them in separate rooms, flashbacks reveal that their statements don’t quite capture the vivid truth of what they survived on that lonely stretch of highway. During these sequences, we begin to meet characters whose absence at the station only adds to our increasing sense of dread about the untold enormity of the events that unfolded on that brisk, sunny day. What has become of the officer’s partner, the young girl’s entire family, and the addict’s boyfriend? What knowledge do the FBI agents already have about the case that they aren’t sharing?
Lynch pulls all the strings together tightly, relying on her inherited ability to survey the landscape of the American dream—the optimism represented by its open roads and the freedom of the families, friends, and lovers that traverse it—only to expose the nightmare that rots just below the surface. When Lynch finally reveals the truth at the heart of this screw-turning thriller, it’s like a deadly highway pileup: Much as you want to turn away, you can’t stop gaping right at it.
DIRECTOR: Jennifer Chambers Lynch
Producer: Kent Harper, Marco Mehlitz, David Michaels
Editor: Daryl K. Davis
Screenwriter: Kent Harper, Jennifer Chambers Lynch
Cinematographer: Peter Wunstorf
Principal Cast: Julia Ormond, Bill Pullman, Pell James, Ryan Simpkins, French Stewart, Kent Harper
US Distributor: Magnet Releasing