Lost Junction Review
In a sticky, humid southern state, Jimmy McGee (Billy Burke) stands by the roadside next to his broken down car. When Missy Lofton (Neve Campbell) stops to offer him a ride to the next town, Lost Junction, little does he know that the body of her dead husband is locked in the boot. When she invites him back for breakfast, it is only the first step in Missy drawing Billy into a circle of theft and murder. Soon, Missy and Billy are on a trip to New Orleans with the police in pursuit.
The R rating promises much, not least a sexually bewitching mix of The Long Hot Summer and Wild Things, which is only encouraged by the presence of Neve Campbell, who, along with Denise Richards, gave the latter its most well-remembered scene. Then again, there's a nagging feeling that, what with this being Neve Campbell, who remain fully clothed throughout that scene, that this R rating will turn out to be a misleading guide by the MPAA.
In the event, it turns out that Lost Junction stars that Neve Campbell that we are more familiar with than that of Wild Things. There's still a hint of The Long Hot Summer about Lost Junction, notably in her playing of a young southern flirt. At first, her character is revealed by the easy playfulness with which she picks up a stranded Billy Burke but an early shot of her dead husband hints at an ruthlessness beneath the charming smile. And so it proves as despite Burke being willingly seduced, he does so knowing that something terrible either will happen or has just happened. As we know, a murder has indeed happened and as the police close in - a fat, sweaty and oh so very southern type of police - Burke and Campbell leave for New Orleans. What then follows is something like a road movie and something like a crime thriller. Burke reveals that he too has a terrible event in his past - he pushed a friend (Gary Busey) into a pool in a quarry breaking both his legs and leaving him unable to walk - and so the film implies that Burke and Campbell are a well matched pair.
The problem with Lost Junction is that it never really explains why Burke and Campbell need to be together. The film fulfils its remit of being a crime thriller by spinning a suitably convoluted yarn about the murder of Campbell's husband, the money that she has removed from his accounts and investments and the relationships that she has with a set of duplicitous characters in New Orleans. However, by Lost Junction also believing itself to be a road movie, it takes on itself the assemblage of a strange band of souls who come along for little more than the ride. In that sense, Lost Junction bears a closer comparison to Cliff Richard's The Young Ones than it does Body Heat, with everyone rushing to be a part of Campbell and Burke's slippery plan as quickly as the kids came running out of the streets and alleyways following Sir Cliff's, "Why don't we put the show on right here?" Indeed - and remember, Burke has been haunted by guilt over what he did to his friend - but he has barely said more than, "Hey there Mr Wheelchair!" before Busey, too, is in on it. Alas, what 'it' is, I cannot tell.
Busey, however, does very well and his is, without question, the star turn in the film. Campbell is coy, Burke is dull and everyone else appears to have been bused in from a casting agency specialising in southern cliches. As for that R rating, it would appear to have been awarded due to the strong language - there is some occasional use of what Campbell's character would call the f-word - but, otherwise, there is nothing that would offend any but the most sheltered of adults.
Whilst not a bad transfer, it's not particularly noteworthy either, simply a good reproduction of the original image. The colours are fine, sharpness is good and the detail in the picture isn't bad but nothing really stands out.
Similarly, the sound, despite being in 5.1 Surround, doesn't make great use of the rear speakers but, then again, it's a talky film so ambient effects are its limit.
This being a bare-bones MGM release, this includes only a selection of trailers. The Lost Junction Theatrical Trailer can be viewed, as are those for Walking Tall, Saved!, Intermission, Wicker Park and Unspeakable.
I doubt Lost Junction will be the last that we will see of the prickly southern thriller but on this evidence, there is little reason why we should be so fond of it. Then, however, we remember The Postman Always Rings Twice, Body Heat and The Long Hot Summer and all is clear. Lost Junction may not have presented a safe pair of hands for the genre but all is not lost as, in time, there will be another thriller along as unexpected as Body Heat once was. In the meantime, pull up a chair on the porch and sip a little lemonade.