Released on: July 28th, 2015
Released by: Kino Lorber
Director: Steve De Jarnatt
Cast: Anthony Edwards, Mare Winningham, John Agar, Kurt Fuller, Denise Crosby
Year: 1988 Purchase on Amazon
Miracle Mile is a film which has deservedly received a fairly strong reputation as a cult, midnight movie classic; a story which manages to pack in action, tension romance and heart all in one lean, taut and keenly shot picture.
It's only one of the two films directed by Steve De Jarnatt-the other being Cherry 2000 a year prior-and the mind boggles why this filmmaker never spearheaded another picture, for Miracle Mile succeeds in nearly all the ways its still-decent predecessor stumbled, with nary a moment wasted in its brief 87 minutes, much of which is shot in real time.
This is due to the film's plot, which centers around a normal, everyday guy named Harry (ER's Anthony Edwards) who just happens to meet the girl of his dreams, Julie, played by Mare Winningham. Unfortunately, the day also marks a very unfortunate happenstance, namely his accidental interception of a military phone call, revealing that World War III is set to unravel in a little over sixty minutes. Harry then decides that he must meet up with Julie before Nuclear War destroys the cities; determined to spend his last living moments with his new love.
It's a very romantic notion, yet one set up with the surreal characters and eccentric settings indicative of Cherry 2000, yet delivered with much stronger performances from the cast, and a tighter hold on a driving sense of purpose. Indeed, once the threat of mutually assured destruction is upon them, Miracle Mile turns into a real time race against the clock, as Harry crosses town on a mission, all the while encountering a bevy of strange friends and foes. The exquisite score from Tangerine Dream assists De Jarnatt greatly in this endeavor, as the pulsing synthesizer beats and melancholic melodies drive the emotional resonance of each scene home perfectly.
The screenplay from De Jarnatt allows the viewer to become totally involved with these characters and invested in Harry and Julie's romance, even if there's little to set the situation up right away. Rather, it's the honesty with which De Jarnatt and his cast approach the film that makes Miracle Mile such an successful, easy film to watch. Sure, aspects of the film may be saturated in style-over-substance 80s indulgence, but it's a sheen which makes Miracle Mile radioactively glow from start to finish.
Kino Lorber's Blu-Ray of Miracle Mile is presented in the film's original 1.85:1 aspect ratio, in AVC encoded 1080p high definition, with colors looking clear and nicely saturated, for the most part. There's a small bit of print damage which pops up for microseconds now and again, but there's plenty of healthy grain and texture to make up that, while the sharpness of the picture itself is very good, but not fantastic. Overall, there's nothing to really complain about here. Audio quality, in English language DTS-HD 2.0, is similarly strong, with no drop-outs or errors to report, while the Tangerine Dream backing track for the score is nicely balanced behind the dialogue. There are no subtitles or alternate language options.
There's also plenty of extras to report here, not the least of which is not one, but two separate commentaries with De Jarnatt, the first being a solo track-moderated by Walter Chaw-and the second alongside director of photography Theo van de Sande and Production Designer Chris Horner. Both tracks are indicative of the Cherry 2000 commentary tracks, in that De Jarnatt and crew are full of lively anecdotes and memories of their time working on the film, making them easy listens.
This isn't all, however, as Kino also includes a selection of outtakes and deleted scenes, taken from the original VHS dailies. It's nice to see this footage, as a lot of it centers around Harry and Julie's love story, with some scenes revealing back story which actually wouldn't been nice to have seen inserted in the film. Elsewhere, there's also an alternate ending for the film, present day interviews with Edwards and Winningham, and a supporting cast reunion at the original diner set utilized for the film. Trailer for both Cherry 2000 and Miracle Mile round out the extras, making this a jam packed disc.
The Final Word
Miracle Mile seems to be one of those movies which keeps benefiting from popular word of mouth, and you're not going to hear any dissenting voices here, either. Steve De Jarnatt, his cast and crew truly put their best collective foot forward with what will likely be the director's defining work.
Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!