Originally written for:
Directed by Jon Cvack
Written by Jon Cvack
Made with peanuts and shoelaces, Jon Cvack has created a rare film in Road To The Well: A low-budget indie where you would be hard pressed to realise the low funding if you didn’t know beforehand. The only real give-away is the fact that the actors used are relatively unknown. This is a tense, solid thriller that has a definite sense of identity. The way the story is written helps expand the scope of the film, as it takes us on a clever road-trip. We don’t see much of the trip itself, but what we do see are aerial shots of the woods where a highway snakes its way through the land. There are enough of these shots to give the film a larger feeling of geography than most low-budget films are able to achieve. This is already impressive, and it is amplified by the solid acting from all involved and a varied score that aligns itself with the tension that much of this movie sustains.
The plot initially seems simple but becomes more complex. Frank is obviously working a job he doesn’t like. His old friend Jack calls him up, wanting to catch up. Jack wants to have some fun, and while Frank has work the next day, he is convinced and says he knows of a party. That party was for his boss, and when he arrives and sees the faces of those still left, Frank immediately looks for said boss. He finds his the guy’s face under his girlfriend’s skirt, and angrily leaves. In the bar they next visit, Jack manages to convince Frank to hit on a girl who is drinking alone, which leads to the two having some fun in his car.
Suddenly his situation is turned upside down, as he finds himself unconscious on the pavement. In the trunk is the girl he met. As for the murder weapon, he wakes up to find it lodged in his underpants. He calls Jack in a panic, and the two decide what they must do with the body.
Given that Frank is taking a job up north, for that same boss, the two use this embarrassing situation as cover to travel north, their true intentions being to bury the body as far away as possible. It starts to get juicy when the two drop in on an estranged friend, so estranged he is surprised to see them turn up on his doorstep. This is where the suspense really begins, as they have a dead body in the trunk, surely starting to smell, and their old pal Chris’ over-friendly in-laws decide that they simply must stay for dinner.
The narrative can become a bit too complex for its own good, as while it makes some good points and maintains tension, the ending feels extremely underwhelming in comparison. I hate to use the word, but it is predictable. This is all rather disappointing, as the ride to the finish is thrilling. It starts slow as the pieces slowly fit together, but once that body is in the trunk, the suspense is immediate and the clock is ticking.
The dialogue is well-written for the most part, with some very engaging and intense conversations, often revolving around topics connected to the film, such as trust and faithfulness. And the theme of what makes for ‘good friends’ lingers in the background, as Frank struggles to reunite with old friend Chris; the two obviously parted on bad terms, but the film teases us, not telling us why. As for Jack, he is simply willing to do anything for a good friend.
Cleverly picking the best talent it could find from television, this film is quite an accomplishment. It is far from a standard story, it has a feeling of size to it that is rare for debut, small-budget films. The characters are all fantastically written and the actors absorb themselves completely. No two characters are alike, a fact that is taken advantage of, making for some entertaining and memorable dialogue delivered by some very interesting characters. If only it were able to end on a similar note. Despite this minor weakness, Cvack is a name to keep an eye on, as this is an extremely polished film, small budget or not. Visiting the site of this film also reveals just how passionate this man is, not to mention driven.
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