Based on the popular novel by Willy Vlautin, THE MOTEL LIFE is a searing and profound examination of brotherhood set in the timeless Sierra Nevadan frontier. Frank (Emile Hirsch) and Jerry Lee Flannigan (Stephen Dorff) work odd jobs, drink hard, and drift from motel to motel. Their only escape is through Frank’s fantastic stories and Jerry Lee’s rich illustrations. Everything changes when Jerry Lee is involved in a hit-and-run accident, which forces the brothers across the state to the home of Frank’s old flame, Annie (Dakota Fanning).


“The Motel Life” is about the third film about the Sierra Nevadas that I’ve watched in the last week. There’s something about the remote nature of that area that evokes rural charm and the despair that comes from being so far removed from life. When Jerry Lee smashes that kid on the bicycle, you feel the weight of that moment. Then, there is the despair as he flees across state lines to avoid being brought up on murder charges. What I don’t get a sense of is what is going through Frank’s mind.

Creation in the face of poverty is such a fascinating concept. Frank and Jerry Lee tell stories and create art. However, it feels like more of a cover for the terrible shit that they do in their lives. They exist to pass them and to try carve out an identity that means something. But, what is meaning within the lack of definition? I know that sounds like a fortune cookie, but think about it. These guys are transients that live on the fringe of society and they used what little skill they possess to win over allies.

The Blu-Ray comes with a featurette, illustration gallery and a trailer as the special features. The A/V Quality is typical for indie cinema in HD. The DTS-HD 5.1 master audio track is pretty dynamic for a quiet movie. That being said, don’t expect a big boombastic presentation. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase.

RELEASE DATE: 6/03/2014

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