There might’ve been an interesting story behind Backtrack and certainly the final 20-minutes aren’t half bad, albeit it was predictable, yet the previous 70-minutes were a bit of a slog to sit through in spite of a respectable performance by Adrien Brody.
Genre(s): Drama, Mystery
Lionsgate | R – 90 min. – $19.99 | April 26, 2016
Date Published: 05/04/2016 | Author: The Movieman
THE MOVIE – 2.5/5
Note: This portion of the review contains MAJOR SPOILERS, so please skip if you don’t want to read certain plot details.
Peter Bower (ADRIEN BRODY) is a psychologist who, with his wife (JENNI BAIRD), has recently endured the tragic death of their daughter. He buries his grief in his work treating other’s psychological issues but soon things begin to unravel, beginning to see things. With the help of his mentor, Duncan Stewart (SAM NEILL), it opens up a host of memories, leading to Peter going back to his hometown and seeing his father, William (GEORGE SHEVISOV), for the first time in years.
Back home, Peter tracks down his childhood best friend, Barry (MALCOLM KENNARD) where we get more insight into his childhood: while Peter and Barry were peeping at a make-out hideaway, they left their bikes on a rail which then caused a train to derail, a few of the passengers which now haunt him. Believing he needs to atone for the guilt he felt, he goes to the police and confesses but given it was neglect, no charges would likely be filed. However, the spirits of those lost, including a teenage girl whose death is far more sinister than he realizes.
Quick Hit Review: Backtrack actually has some good ideas in it. The performances also aren’t half bad with Adrien Brody, as usual giving his all and there are some nice moments but for all that works, it takes its good time getting there. In spite of a rather short 90-minute running time, the bulk of the second act sludges along with little to no momentum and any suspense or mystery built in the beginning was gone, thanks to one twist unveiled early on. However, after that, the final 20-minutes (or so) almost makes up for the duller moments earlier. Almost.
I don’t think Backtrack is a bad movie per se but the material could’ve lent to be a great supernatural mystery/thriller but instead you’ve got maybe 40-minutes of good material while the remainder 45-minutes is dry and, frankly, boring and anything that does awaken you are the overused (in many movies in the genre) jump scares. However, if you have some patience, the movie might be worth checking out.
The film was written and directed by Michael Petroni marking only his second feature-length movie – the first Till Human Voices Wake Us starring Guy Pearce – and although I don’t think Backtrack worked, there are some interesting ideas, at least.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 1.0/5
This release comes with a matted slip cover. Inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy.
The Psychology of Backtrack (5:25; HD) is a basic featurette with interviews by members of the cast and crew as they primarily discuss the plot and main character.
Previews – American Heist, Flight 7500, Z for Zachariah
VIDEO – 4.25/5
|Lionsgate releases Backtrack presented in its original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. The picture is by no means perfect but detail does look, for the most part, sharp while colors are generally tempered in keeping with the darker, supernatural, tone. Blacks are fairly stark showing no signs of artifacting and there is some minor graininess but nothing overwhelming or distracting.
AUDIO – 4.0/5
|The movie comes with a standard 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio track offers some crisp and clean dialogue levels which makes up the bulk of the movie but there are some other scenes, like a train derailment, that gives the lossless track some decent enough depth though it’s nothing encompassing or overly impressive; that said, it is effective for the type of movie.
OVERALL – 2.5/5
|Overall, there might’ve been an interesting story behind Backtrack and certainly the final 20-minutes aren’t half bad, albeit it was predictable, yet the previous 70-minutes were a bit of a slog to sit through in spite of a respectable performance by Adrien Brody. Even so, this might be worthy of a rental but not much more. The Blu-ray release offers good video and audio transfers but there’s only a throwaway EPK-like featurette.
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.