Eye For Film >> Movies >> The Road Within (2014) Film Review
The Road Within
Reviewed by: Luke Shaw
Road trips are cool. There’s no getting around it, and no matter how many times it's fallen back on as an excuse to force characters to erode boundaries and presumptions, it still works. Over a long enough period of time, the secrecy of everyone is reduced to zero in the cramped confines of a car cruising the American highways.
The twist in The Road Within is that the personalities in the car are complex fortresses that have consumed their owners. Vincent (Robert Sheehan) suffers from Tourette’s syndrome, and his tics and outbursts make him abrasive to be around, but Marie (Zoe Kravitz) and Alex (Dev Patel) are not free from their own issues. After stealing her doctor's car and encouraging Alex to come along for the ride, chronic anorexic Marie exists in state of near-sleep that makes her the perfect friend to someone whose illness proves impossible for others to just take on the chin. Rounding out the trio is Alex, who suffers from crippling OCD, and who is unwittingly “kidnapped” and coerced into helping Vincent accomplish his mission of spreading his mother’s ashes in the ocean.
This set up is ripe for comedy, and it doesn’t fail to provide laughs, but it’s hard to fully accept the situation given how easy it would be to fall into crass territory. The script doesn’t always succeed in artlessly needling these taboo subjects, but by and large everyone’s situation is handled with the respect it deserves, although I would be interested in hearing how it comes across to people intimate with these issues.
Personalities eventually come out of their shells, and Alex’s growth, though slightly cliched, is handled in an especially heartfelt way. All three of the leads deserve praise for the confidence and nuance with which they handle their roles, and they rarely slip over into caricature. These characters are not defined by their illnesses, but they are defined by a lifetime of existing alongside them, and the challenges that inevitably brings.
Hot on their tail is Vincent's father, senatorial candidate Robert Rhodes, who is played by Robert Patrick brilliant conviction, only let down by a predictable arc. and in truth it would be hard to see his character ending up as anything other than a changed man given the tone of the film. The clashes between characters give this film plenty of catalysts for interesting discussions, and it is refreshing that these discussions are not framed as anything other than three young adults connecting. There is no grand revelation, no-one is cured, and life remains uncertain even at the close of the film, but to finish in any other way would be doing the subject matter a disservice.Reviewed on: 18 Jun 2015
If you like this, try:Vincent Wants to Sea