"Alamo Bay (1985)"
Twilight Time Blu-Ray Review
Starring Ed Harris, Amy Madigan
and Donald Moffat Directed By Louis Malle
COLOR/1985/1 HOUR 38 MINUTES/RATED R
ASPECT RATIO: 1:85.1 1080p
ENGLISH 1.0 DTS-HD MA MONO
"Alamo Bay" is one of those films that makes you think about racial prejudice somewhat and yet it fails to deliver in that regard that it doesn't add anything we really didn't know about the subject. The film stars Ed Harris ("Glengarry Glen Ross", "The Firm", "The Rock") as Shang, a racist Vietnam veteran in danger of losing his livelihood is pushed to the edge when he sees Vietnamese immigrants moving into the fishing industry in a Texas bay town which later results in violence fueled by the KKK. Director Louis Malle, who directed much better films than this one really does his best with the material on hand here written by Alice Arlen, who wrote the acclaimed Mike Nichols film "Silkwood" years before this film. The film co-stars Amy Madigan (Ed Harris' real life wife) as the most positive part of this film with a tough performance that really outshines Harris'.
Movies such as these are really tough to watch in all honesty and it's mainly because of the content involved. If it's handled correctly and subtly, it shines that much more. However, when it's really all up in your face in full force that causes a major tune out which happend to me on the similarly themed "The Chamber" which was based on John Grisham's novel and sadly the worst film adaptation of Grisham's literary works. Malle took on this tough assignment and did his best with what he had to work with and yet it feels hollow because it really pales in comparison to his best work and most of his good films. "Alamo Bay" isn't a terrible film, it just doesn't add anything new to the subject except it's a very different group of people that it's prejudicing.
Twilight Time's Limited Edition Blu-Ray is razor sharp in picture quality and sound. I didn't really notice anything in regards to Digital Noise Reduction or scrubbing of any kind. You also have to remember that this film was shot in the 80's where most film companies used almost substandard stock film so don't expect that grandest HD experience ever on this one. The disc's lone special feature asside from the film's theatrical trailer is Ry Cooder's excellent and moody score in a separate isolated track produced by one of the best in the business in Mike Matessino. A wonderful informational booklet featuring liner notes by the always excellent Julie Kirgo is on hand here as well and it's a great read for those not familiar with the film.
I can't recommend this film and for a couple of reasons. I really didn't find anyone character likeable or wanting me to like them as much as Madigan's and even she goes a long way which at times is a little too much to take. Harris is good here but it's a character that he would end up playing with gusto and anger in films like "GlenGarry Glen Ross", "The Rock" and "The Firm". The film isn't bad looking but the story is just simply a turn off for me unfortunately. A rather interesting choice for the Twilight Time series, but there were many other Sony titles they could've chosen that are just that much better in my opinion and this one isn't one of them.