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A-Pix Entertainment presents

Drowning on Dry Land (1998)

Darshan: So you have a shrink?
Kate: Yeah, she's been helping me sort something out - .for about 6 years now.- Darshan (Naveen Andrews) and Kate (Barbara Hershey)

Stars: Barbara Hershey, and Naveen Andrews
Other Stars: Carol Linley, John Doe, and Steven Polk
Director: Carl-Jan Colpaert

Manufacturer: Henninger Interactive Media
MPAA Rating: R for some graphic sexuality and strong language
Run Time: 01h:31m:01s
Release Date: 2000-09-19
Genre: drama

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B- CBB- D+


DVD Review

Drowning on Dry Land covers a lot of terrain during its 90-minute running time. Not only do the locations for the film go from New York to the Arizona desert, but the plot also covers a lot of ground. Within the short amount of time it takes to unfold, the plot goes from being a road movie, to a comedy, until it finally ends up as a drama. And while each of those plot points would work well in their own movie, in this film, when you put them together, all you get is a mess.

Kate Burns (Hershey) is a down-and-out advertising exec who at the start of the film climbs into a cab and asks the driver to drive far away from New York, specifically to the desert. The cab driver, Darshan Sharma (Andrews) takes her up on her offer when she offers him $300 a day. Through the trip the two share their anger, life stories, and eventually their love.

The worst thing about the film is that you never really find yourself caring about these two main characters. Neither Kate nor Darshan is very likeable from the start and they never grow on you. But if this is a true romantic comedy or road film where is the law that says you must like the people you want to fall in love? There is so much anger shared by the two characters it is a wonder that their trek across the nation doesn't turn into a small version of the Donner Party. Darshan hates Americans for there total lack of quiet and their constant need to be nosy. And while Kate knows this, she keeps talking about herself to Darshan all the time. You have to wonder if the screenwriters actually wanted them to go their separate ways at the end of the film.

Drowning on Dry Land would be totally worthless if it weren't for its cast and crew. The cinematography by Dean Lent is worth the price of a rental alone. Lent films the American landscape so beautifully that you keep waiting for the next "big sky" shot. The direction by Carl-Jan Colpaert is surprisingly good throughout the film. Scenes with the two leads in the cab are done well, as is the pacing. Colpaert's only weak point is that he doesn't know how to film a love scene—the two main love scenes between Kate and Darshan are so laughably bad that I started to wonder if they were being played for comedy.

Barbara Hershey is adequate as Kate, the New Yorker whose life seems to be falling down around her. She has only one true standout scene, a breakdown in a phone booth at the start of the film. While Andrews, whose biggest exposure prior to this was his role as Kip in the great film, The English Patient, borders on annoyance during most of his scenes. To be truthful, the two leads are so bland in their performances that they, not the screenplay, make the film nearly unwatchable.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Rationo

Image Transfer Review: This full-frame transfer from the folks at A-Pix Entertainment is as good as this film is going to look. Black levels and colors are done well, as is detail. There is very little edge enhancement shown and sharpness is fine. It is no surprise that the best moments in this transfer are the shots of the horizon and landscapes in the film. This is a good transfer and kudos go out to A-Pix for their effort.

Image Transfer Grade: B

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: Shown with only a Dolby 2.0 channel mix, Drowning on Dry Land isn't exactly a disc to show off your system. Dialogue is a little difficult to understand at times, but for the most part is clear. The bass from the numerous music cues is tight and comes across well. Spanish subtitles are also available.

Audio Transfer Grade: B- 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 11 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Alpha
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The video trailer for the film is available from the main menu.

Extras Grade: D+

Final Comments

Drowning on Dry Land isn't a terrible movie, in fact there are some moments where it does work. But there just aren't enough to make it a recommendation. For a better road trip love story, rent The Sure Thing on VHS. I think you will be happier.

Kevin Clemons 2000-11-02