23 February 2004 | gpadillo
America, the Bleak
What an amazing picture. America the bleak, the picture shows what too many Americans are forced to look at: shooting flames of 100 foot pilot lights at the Jersey oil refineries, filthy, trash strewn barriers and streets, swampy landfills, miles of destroyed land strip mined, dump yards, and all vision encompassing, tacky billboards luring us to destinations like the "Monkey Snake Farm"
Playing into the visual aspect are other touches such as the radio playing advertisements for items like the "writhing, bleeding Jesus statute for two dollars - . . . with genuine simulated blood." Here is a picture of an America too many see, yet too few admit exists.
The young (almost unrecognizable) Barry Bostwick gives an astonishing performance is amazing as Hank, a young idealistic country boy truck driver partnered with Robert Drivas wondrously hardworn, (yet unwittingly naïve) Gil. Regina Baff is nothing but bad news as the mistake in the form of a whore they pick up causing their string of bad luck yet making herself necessary as their only means of redemption. That Hank recognizes this early on and the "older, wiser" Gil does not gives an interesting, unspoken and uneven balance and reversal of their roles in this partnership. Ms. Baff teeters gloriously between laughably horrible and dead on, offering a frightening character study that is at once loathsome and pitiable
The soundtrack matches perfectly the visual images we are given throughout - songs and sounds of the time in which the story takes place and intertwine in a manner that seems to be an actual commentary - a necessary appendage of the story.
Such movies need the balance of tension and release to make their point, but Road Movie never offers that - giving instead a sense of tension and false-release which intensifies every frame as few films can do today.
With a handful of dollars, cast and crew of Road Movie give us a real movie, entertaining, heartbreaking and full of false hope. Astonishing achievement.