DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
HD DVD / Blu-ray
International DVDs
Theatrical
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
DVD Stalk
DVD Savant
High-Def Revolution
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum
Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

DVDTalk Info
Review Staff
About DVD Talk
Advertise
Newsletter Subscribe
Join DVD Talk Forum
DVD Talk Feeds


Sponsored Links
Search: For:
Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » David Lynch: The Art Life (Blu-ray)
David Lynch: The Art Life (Blu-ray)
Criterion // Unrated // September 26, 2017 // Region A
List Price: $29.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ian Jane | posted September 13, 2017 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
Printer Friendly
The Movie:

Co-directed by Jon Nguyen and Rick Barnes in 2016, David Lynch: The Art Life is not the traditional biographical piece you might expect it to, rather it is a series of conversations with the storied artist and filmmaker about how and why he creates what he creates. It's a fairly philosophical look at his creative process, but also an interesting examination of how he came to be what he is, his penchant for surrealism and his love of cigarettes.

Don't expect to watch this movie and find out what the ending of Twin Peaks: The Return was all about or anything like that. In fact, this piece doesn't really go into any of his feature film work after Eraserhead. Instead, in Lynch's own words, we learn about his upbringing and his family life (which was, maybe surprisingly, the textbook definition or normal and wholesome) and how he came to become the creative force he's now regarded as. He recounts some incidents from his childhood that likely left some scars and shaped his views on things in strange ways, but recounting them here would be a disservice to those who haven't seen the film. For the most part those, his younger days seem to have been quite happy, almost idyllic. In this piece we see him relaxing at his home in the Hollywood hills and we see him paint. As this happens, we learn how his formative years as a kid and then a young man tend to, as he puts it, ‘color' pretty much everything he's worked on ever since.

As Lynch offers up heady thoughts on the importance of art and creativity, we're treated to archival film clips showcasing not just some of his home life experiences but some of his earlier art projects as well. There are plenty of archival photograph used from this same period here as well. Everything that comes at us from this picture is presented straight from Lynch's mouth. There's no filter or twisting of words, just the man speaking very matter-of-factly about his thoughts on art. He's quite genial here, very friendly and occasionally humorous. Lynch has never been short on charm, as he runs his fingers through his shock white hair, cigarette permanently glued to his lip and smoke constantly emanating from his mouth and nostrils like one of the industrial machines that seems to fascinate him so much. We get inside his head a bit, maybe more so here than in any other piece that's made been made about him over the years (he famously doesn't do audio commentary tracks or like to explain his work at all), and it's quite fascinating. It's also interesting to see him work on some particularly dark pieces while chatting away to the camera in the most nonchalant manner you could imagine.

The movie is nicely shot. There are some very striking compositions here. Lynch is framed in a reasonably straight forward way most of the time, but then the camera will pull back and use some great wide angle shots from time to time that add an interesting emphasis to what he says. We also get some nice looks at various pieces that he's worked on over the years, and the camerawork does a great job of letting us soak in a lot of the details inherent in that work. Technical merits are strong. The documentary is polished, but not to the point that it loses authenticity or sincerity, and the pacing is quirk, but not at the expense of content.

The Blu-ray:

Video:

David Lynch: The Art Life is presented by The Criterion Collection on a 50GB Blu-ray framed at 1.78.1 widescreen and presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition. Shot digitally the image here is very clean, obviously there's no print damage to note nor is there any actual grain. Color reproduction looks spot on and black levels are nice and solid. There are no noticeable problems with any compression artifacts nor is there any obvious edge enhancement to complain about. Detail is typically really strong here too, you can occasionally make out some of the lines from the brush strokes in the paintings that are shown off. The archival clips and photos used have the expected amount of wear and tear visible, but that never once feels like a detriment to the feature.

Sound:

The only audio option on the disc is a DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track in English. There are no alternate language options provided here, though optional English subtitles are provided. There isn't much in the way of surround activity here, just very occasional reach channel activity, as the vast majority of the movie is simply spoken or narrated. Regardless, everything is nicely balanced and there are no issues with hiss or distortion and all in all the audio here sounds just fine.

Extras:

The main extra on the disc is a new interview with co-director Jon Nguyen that clocks in at just over sixteen minutes in length. In this piece Nguyen talks about first collaborating with Lynch while the director was making Inland Empire on a short documentary simply called Lynch and how after making that piece they came to collaborate on this longer, feature length piece.

Outside of that we also get a trailer for the feature, menus and chapter selection. Included alongside the Blu-ray disc is an insert booklet containing information on the feature as well as a new essay by film critic Dennis Lim.

Final Thoughts:

David Lynch: The Art Life is a fascinating glimpse into the mindset and creative process of one of modern day America's finest surrealist artists. The documentary is at times warm, friendly and occasionally quite funny but it's no fluff piece, rather, it's a careful examination of the man and his work. The Blu-ray release from The Criterion Collection is light on extras but it does look and sound really nice. Highly recommended.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

Find the lowest price for 'David Lynch: The Art Life (Blu-ray)'
Popular Reviews
1. The Dark Tower
2. Atomic Blonde
3. Annabelle: Creation
4. Westworld: The Complete First Season
5. Misery: Collector's Edition
6. Jabberwocky: Criterion Collection
7. Le Samourai
8. Beyond The Darkness
9. 2:22
10. Return of the Ape Man


Sponsored Links
DVD Blowouts
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Alien [Blu-ray]
Buy: $19.99 $9.99
8.
9.
10.
Sponsored Links
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use