Miracle Mile

Studio: Kino Lorber Studio Classics

Jul 23, 2015 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


The pay phone rings. It’s 4 a.m. and Harry is alone outside a diner. He enters the booth and picks up the receiver. “It’s happening,” a terrified voice explains on the other end. “This is it. This is the big one!” At first, Harry assumes the person on the line is joking—there’s no way a nuclear attack has been launched on the Soviet Union. But, when he listens as the man on the other end is gunned down, he has no choice but to believe the news: that an attack will strike in exactly 50 minutes, and the Soviet Union will be able to retaliate within one hour and ten.

With absolute annihilation on the immediate horizon, Harry’s thoughts go to Julie, a woman whom he just recently met but he knows is the girl he was destined to be with. He has one shot to evacuate the city via a chopper hired by a mysterious acquaintance, but there’s no way he’s leaving Los Angeles without the woman he loves.

Miracle Mile has by far one of the strangest blends in tone you’ll find in any film: part romantic comedy, and part apocalyptic thriller. The 1989 film was the last made by director Steve de Jarnatt (Cherry 2000) to date, shot from a script he’d written himself nearly ten years earlier. What begins as a charming love story between a dopey trombonist (Anthon Edwards) and an eccentric waitress (Mare Winningham) takes an immediate turn once Harry intercepts that fateful call. The movie shifts to real time, and while that love story retains its charm, it picks up a new immediacy: this may be the last chance the socially awkward Harry may have to tell someone he loves them, and be loved in return.

Brilliantly, Miracle Mile doesn’t tip its cards until its last moments—for most of its fretful 87 minutes, neither Harry nor the audience are sure whether the nuclear attack is real, or whether it’s a sick prank. The movie keeps viewers at the edge of their seats thanks to its propulsive score—courtesy of Tangerine Dream—and realistic, practical special effects. (Not a single huge-budget, catastrophe thriller—we’re looking at you, The Day After Tomorrow and 2012—has made the prospect of impending apocalypse feel more real and terrifying.)

Watching Miracle Mile in its new Blu-ray edition from Kino Lorber Studio Classics, it feels like an unearthed masterpiece. Fortunately it’s treated with utmost respect from the Blu-ray label, who lavish the movie with two feature-length commentaries, a wealth of outtakes, and new interviews with the cast and crew. Trust us—if you’re seeing the film for the first time here, you’ll want to pore through all of these immediately afterward. It’s a shock that such an unforgettable film has been so forgotten—if you, like us, are hearing about it for the first time now, find and watch this movie as quickly as you can. If you’re already a fan of this particular piece of cult filmmaking, we bow to your savviness—and recommend you grab this bonus feature-rich edition.

www.kinolorber.com/video.php?id=2069

Author rating: 9/10

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