8 March 2013 | JustCuriosity
A Compelling Journey through a Hellish Desert of Both Mind and Body.
I had the pleasure of attending the world premiere of Scenic Route on the first night of Austin's SXSW Film Festival. This disturbingly powerful drama was very well-received by the crowd. The film was both well-written and well-acted. This is the story of two thirty-something guys who used to be close friends, but have drifted apart in recent years as they have struggled to find themselves as adults. Both men are evidently lost within themselves long before their truck breaks down in the desert. The story could easily have been clichéd, but instead their struggle to survive against the elements becomes a journey of self- exploration and rediscovery. They begin to turn on each other as they confront the uncomfortable demons within their own deeply troubled selves.
Josh Duhamel and Dan Fogler show new depth as actors in this film. Kyle Killen's script is far better than his deeply flawed script for the The Beaver. The only major flaw appears to be one unnecessary flashback scene that takes the audience away from the stark dry desert that has in and of itself become a character in the film. Although, it is never stated where it is set, the credits reveal that it was filmed in California's Death Valley. The Q&A with cast makes clear just how difficult it was to film under conditions of wind and extreme temperatures in the desert. The dramatic journey of the Scenic Route is compelling and entrancing. While the film can be difficult to watch at times and will certainly be far too dark for some viewers, its journey through a physical and spiritual desert is overpowering. I recommend the film to all viewers who want to be challenged by a dark and disturbing journey. I really hope that Scenic Route gets wider distribution so that it can be viewed by a wider audience.