Road to Nowhere

(2010)

Genres: Romance, Thriller

Review: Road to Nowhere

Transcript for Review: Road to Nowhere

CHRISTY LEMIRE:
Ok, next up is "Road to Nowhere," the first film in more than two decades from cult director Monte Hellman. You might remember him from "Two-Lane Blacktop." Here, he explores the murky intersection of fact and fiction when a director makes a movie about a true crime -- insurance fraud and a double suicide. Shannyn Sossamon plays Laurel, the film's star.

Clip 3 -- Velma jogs in the woods, Bruno stops and accuses her.

That's Waylon Payne as Bruno, who's supposed to be a consultant on the movie. But instead, he becomes increasingly suspicious that Laurel is actually Velma, who's supposed to be dead. And he becomes suspicious of the director, played by Tygh Runyan, whose infatuation with Laurel -- and Velma -- has gotten out of control. He gets some help from Dominique Swain as a blogger who's been following the case.

Clip 2 -- Nathalie and Bruno look at a laptop

Hellman keeps us guessing by moving seamlessly between the film within the film and the goings-on behind the scenes. And some of his stylistic trademarks -- including long static shots -- add to the sense of tension and mystery. The payoff just isn't there though in this modern-day noir. There's toying with the audience and then there's just flat-out inconsistency. Still, my thumb is up because "Road to Nowhere" worked for me for a long time.

IGNATIY VISHNEVETSKY: 
I think this is a pretty, pretty great movie. 

CHRISTY: 
Ok. 

IGNATIY: 
Um, I think it is deliberately inconsistent, um, I mean it’s not just the Laurel, Velma character. It’s pretty much every character is so, their identity shifts so much.  I mean as you watch the film it becomes more, kind of obvious that you don’t really know what these people are what they’re doing. What I think this does, that along with, um, constantly cutting between the film that’s being shot, what’s going on, not really differentiating between the two. It really creates the sense of a world that’s constantly in flux.  I think that this is, a film that is, essentially takes place in a, in a world where there really aren’t any identities, there aren’t any motivations.  All you really have, all these characters become in the end, is kind of this drive, they all share this drive to control, ah, each other, I mean that’s what they’re doing through out the movie they’re trying to take control of the narrative.  

CHRISTY:
Um, I would say that they’re not trying to control anything really at all. I think they just sort of are, and they’re instinctively shifting who they are.  Saying drives suggests there’s a plan, I feel like they’re all just going with the flow and were going with them, but that last, I don’t want to give it away, that last scene appends everything that came before it, and I’m not sure I buy it. 

IGNATIY: 
Really, ok, to me the last scene, without giving away what’s in it just reinforces it because not only does it append everything, but it’s kind of played for tragedy, but you get the sense that the characters are deliberately acting in a tragic way.  Throughout the entire film they’ve been sort of spinning this story in their own direction, Um.

CHRISTY: 
I feel like Monte Hellman is saying the joke is on us.  Ha ha, the joke is on you for following me this whole way through. Having said that, I really loved it, it reminds me a lot of Mulholland Drive in a lot of ways. 

IGNATIY: 
Yeah, also also also…

CHRISTY: 
The nature of it and the dream like nature.   

IGNATIY: 
Also, kind of set in a fluctuating dream world.  This is, I like this more than you, but I think we both agree this is a pretty darn good movie.