Sunday, June 17, 2012
Road to Nowhere
Now, let's dissect that line on a few different levels. First, it is fucking perfect. It's as precise and accurate a line of dialogue concerning our finest artistic medium as I've ever heard. When the character said it in the movie, I literally sat upright, in awe of its succinct brilliance. On another level, the line perfectly describes the movie it is contained in, which, as a whole, I certainly will not be able to do.
Road to Nowhere is as confounding a piece of contemporary American cinema as I've seen. It shifts narrative with no warning, introduces actors who play one, two, maybe even three roles (I think), and never fully let's you in on the joke that no one is laughing at. Usually, movies like this lose my attention about as quickly as it takes to hit the eject button on a DVD player, but there's something about Road to Nowhere that makes it impossible to look away. Something, in fact, may not be accurate, as there are many many things going on here.
As I attempt to begin a paragraph of plot summary, I realize that little (or none) of it will make sense. That's partly my fault, but it's also the way the film is meant to be revealed. Road to Nowhere doesn't issue many details, and I'm not going to either. Hell, even if I did explain what it's all about, it certainly wouldn't help matters much.
For the remainder of the film, Hellman cross cuts the shooting of the movie with scenes from the movie itself (which, too, is called Road to Nowhere). Sometimes he lets us know that we're watching a scene from the movie within (as the crew is clearly visible), other times, we aren't exactly sure which is which. At the same time, two technical advisors on the film, a blogger who detailed the real crime, and an insurance investigator who knew the real people involved, are digging deeper into the real mystery, thereby exposing some harsh truths about the film itself.
You with me? Neither am I. Look, in truth, Road to Nowhere is a kind of movie you're going to love or hate. Those who try to figure it all out and search for The Why will be as frustrated as they were during The Tree of Life. But for the select few who are able to sit back and immerse themselves in the unique, puzzling world Hellman and screenwriter Steven Gaydos have created, well, then, more power to you. A-