Wednesday, September 26, 2007
90 Second Film Review: Reservation Road (Terry George)
Those looking for depth, as always, are advised to search elsewhere.
May I propose as an alternate title, Crash. Both in the literal sense (Ruffalo kills Phoenix’s son in a hit and run accident) as well as the implied shortcomings shared by both films. Specifically the contrivances, the histrionic performances, and the cursory-level exploration of human anguish. Way less white, liberal guilt at least.
The film is essentially In the Bedroom, big studio edition (mini-major distributor not withstanding) with every emotion broadly telegraphed (cry when you’re sad, rage when you’re upset, etc…), indifferently plotted, building towards an anti-catharsis that’s less ambiguous than it is letting the film off the hook from having to follow through on its own tired premise. Director George, who showed admirable restraint with material infinitely more tragic in Hotel Rwanda, directs his actors like their auditioning for guest spots on "Law & Order." Never quite finds a unique angle in approaching neither the waking tragedy of losing a child nor the torment of being responsible for said act, so it ends up playing like scenes from a drama class.
At the risk of sounding biased, a film like Steel City at least brought a sense of working-class, under-stated angst to similar material. Reservation Road meanwhile appears to have been engineered from the For Your Consideration clips up. Furthermore, the film engenders zero good will by depicting perhaps the most unengaged Red Sox fans (a father and son in the throws of the 2004 post-season run, no less) in history. Jennifer Connolly is of course cast as “least interesting thing in the film” yet again. Seriously Jen, go back to playing crack whores; your career was a lot more promising. C-