In a small southern American town, housewife Linda Henry lives a unsatisfied life and wants a child to fulfil that gap, but her husband Henry seems more concerned about his model trains and receiving his fetish spanking from nurse Stein. One day in a diner, an odd and mysterious young English lad Martin approaches Linda and her friend. He seems to appear where she is, so when another confrontation eventuates. He admits to being her son, which he was taken from her at birth when she was a teenager, due to the reasoning of his conception. This newfound responsibility is bittersweet for Linda, but has it come at a price for her well-being.
Bizarre, extremely bizarre
and sultry! Nicholas Roeg's "Track 29" is really hard to fathom, which can make it quite frustrating, due to the fact the pieces of this hysterically traumatic psychological puzzle never come to be one. Maybe that was on purpose, as the dysfunctional characters (usually lurking in small town settings) we follow seem rather disconnected, never quite sure of themselves and longing for something which could lead to an emotional breakdown. This exploration into the protagonists' wavering consciousness brings out many facets, like revelations of the past and those things that matter most for them to feel anything. The obsessive nature takes hold, where torment and frustration develops with neurotic results, which could finally lose out to fantasy, because reality and their situation is just to hard to come to grips with. Because of that, Dennis Potter's unbalanced, warped screenplay really does put you on the spot and throws around plenty of eye-boggling surreal passages. Symbolic clues feature thickly throughout and the themes that drown the moody, but complex script leave a strong imprint. While I don't think it's all-successful in conveying its ideas, it's still very interesting to watch.
Building it up is the unusual kinky charge, perversely pitch-black humour and a terror-away performance by the nutty Gary Oldman. Boy, Oldman annoys with his infantile portrayal, but that peculiar intensity he generates and his edgy rapport with co-star Theresa Russell has you hypnotised. The two have some curious exchanges. Russell projects a fully realised performance, that bubbles, but you also feel her growing pain and uncertainty of her fragile character. Too bad about the southern accent though. Christopher Lloyd goes offbeat too, but more so in an understated and controlled turn. Sandra Bernhard's Nurse Stein makes an impression. Roeg's leisurely paced direction might not be as beautifully visceral, but winning out is a very gleeful and excessive approach that's high quality. Like Oldman's character, Roeg lets it play out like a kooky tantrum with a lingering mean-streak. The leering camera-work seems to hover on its shots awkwardly, or give it a smothering feeling, and the simmering music score is been kept under-wraps.
Another original and provocative piece of work into the realm of surrealistic ambiguity combined with expressive allegories and a sensually twisted flavour. This one really challenges the viewer (like most of Roeg's work), then highly entertains.