Directors: Kevin Goetz, Michael Goetz
Starring: Josh Duhamel, Dan Fogler, Miracle Laurie
Scenic Route Review: The brothers Goetz – Kevin and Michael – have made one of the most enthralling, brutal, and deeply haunting one-setting pictures. Scenic Route is a terrifying picture, part road movie, part character drama, and part pot-boiling thriller, as it depicts two longtime friends who’ve keenly drifted apart further drift apart after their truck breaks down in the middle of the desert. Armed with hardly any food, water, or means of survival, they become increasingly furious at each other for dealing with each others’ current life positions as a product to critique to make up for their own personal failures.
The friends are Mitchell and Carter, played brilliantly by Josh Duhamel and Dan Fogler, who both seem to be going through a more ambitious phase in their careers. Mitchell is a successful, yet unfulfilled office-worker with a second wife and kid, living a content life that pays the bills but lacks the charm and happiness he got from being an aspiring musician. Carter chose to follow his dreams with being a writer/novelist, which has left him broke and homeless in his early-thirties. Scenic Route time passes, and then more time passes, and the men try desperately to outlast the mercilessly hot days, the brutally cold nights, and the feelings of exhaustion, starvation, and dehydration while waiting on a stranded road, hoping in vein a car comes gracious enough to pick them up.
The descent into madness and violence is wonderfully portrayed here, mainly because it shows the cause-and-effect verbal blows one right after another. Writer Kyle Killen (who also penned Jodie Foster’s The Beaver) takes his time to give these characters humanity and depth before diving into the violence and the brutality. But the key to the film’s success as a whole is its humanity, its lengthy dialog-exchanges, and finally, the suspense of the characters awaiting rescue or searching for it on their own. In only eighty minutes, Scenic Route delivers what many two-hour long films can’t accomplish, and it hits the ground running with its premise, wasting no time, talent, or tribulation in the face in its excursion.
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