After inquiring as to what might be next on my viewing schedule the owner of my favorite theatre handed me a flyer for Yam Laranas’ The Road. He told me it was a movie out of the Philippines that was making the rounds and racking up solid reviews everywhere it went. Oh really? Count me in.
There is usually a reason why places in this world are boarded up, hidden and forgotten about. Laranas takes us to such a place; a road forgotten about by most of the world and by all who speed by it on the highway. He takes us to a road that no one ever seems to live to tell about.
We find ourselves on this road three times. In 2008 we see three teens terrorized by a care with no driver, two young women who run into car trouble on the road in 1998 and a young boy who is traumatized by his brutal mother in 1988.
The wraparound story is of a young police officer being promoted for his detective work who is approached by a distraught mother in search of her daughters (the young women with car trouble) who disappeared in 1998.
Stylistically, this film is beautiful and Laranas’ background as a cinematographer really pays dividends. His shot composition and timing are stunning. The acting is good overall and strongest in the story of the boy who is abused by his mother. Each of the stories is relatively interesting, tense and creepy as stand alone pieces.
There are quite a lot of things to like about The Road which is why I’m sad to say that this film just doesn’t work for me. When it all comes together the connection is far too convenient and contrived only to make the stories tie together.
I understand the fear that viewers will complain if they feel that the movie doesn’t make sense and nothing gets explained, but at the same time you can’t take the easy way out just to appease the masses. Doing so compromises your film and lets my brain take over to remind me that there is nothing to fear in this film as long as you watch out for plot holes.