DVD Review: Highland Park

Principal Lloyd Howard (Billy “Dad from Twilight” Burke) has been having a pretty rough time of it. His school is losing funding and scholastic programs left and right. It seems him and his staff’s only hope is the weekly lottery where they’ve played the same numbers for over ten years. Now with the latest string of budget cuts he’s had to lay off all the people he’s employed and cared about for years. All in thanks, it seems, to the greedy bitter Mayor Shirley Paine (Parker Posey).

Ed (Danny Glover) is the most optimistic of the lottery group, even though he was laid off a few years ago. Highland Park has a very bleak feel which I guess makes sense, since it takes place in Detroit, probably one of the more bleak cities these days.

Everything changes for these folks when they finally do win the lottery. As well as buying things to improve their own lives, they start putting money back into the school and community much to the Mayor’s chagrin. That is until she starts trying to use the winnings to her own advantage and political career. However, Ed, the one who buys the lottery tickets has been out of town on a fishing trip for a week. So while they’ve all been out spending their money, they’ve also just been waiting for Ed to get back with the winning ticket. But did he actually buy it?

Apparently there is one ominous place with a pool table and giant fire place where all the corrupt rich people in town hang out. And while the big climactic scene takes place here, and proves to be the most interesting scene, in the film it’s way too little and way, way too late.

As I said before, this is a very bleak film. It’s also a very slow and dull film. The performances are okay, but the story, it just doesn’t have much life to it. For a 90 minute movie it drags on like it’s over two hours. I guess there is some sort of message here about community togetherness and probably counting your chickens before they hatch, but anything that might be good about this film gets lost in the doldrums.

The film is presented in a 16:9 widescreen format. The sound is in 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound. As if this film wasn’t sad enough, it’s got a very grey washed out tone adding to that vibe. It looks and sounds fine.

There are no special features.

I decided to check this out because I’ve always been a fan of Parker Posey. However, even that wasn’t enough for me to enjoy this film. It’s slow, boring and depressing and her character wasn’t interesting enough to care about. In fact, none of the characters are really that interesting or worth caring about.

Tribeca Film presents Highland Park. Written by Christopher Keyser and Andrew Meieran. Directed by Andrew Meieran. Starring: Billy Burke, Parker Posey and Danny Glover. Running time: 94 minutes. Rating: Not Rated. Released: August 20, 2013..

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