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Scenic Route was a movie I went into expecting to not like all that much. As far as I can tell, it was basically DTV after playing a few festivals, it showed up on the “Popular on Netflix” list on instant streaming (usually the things I add from that list show up in the bottom 10% of my queue when I sort by rating descending; Scenic Route was an exception, showing up about halfway down). It stars Josh Duhamel, who hasn't made a good picture since Turistas, and Dan Fogler, who hasn't made a good movie since... well, never. Directed by brothers turning in their first feature and written by a TV guy, though he has turned in one feature script before—for the almost-legendary Jodie Foster-directed bomb The Beaver. (Yeah, the Mel Gibson hand puppet movie.) I figured I'd be hitting play on this one and, ninety minutes later, starting to write a review so legendarily bad I would be getting hate mail about it long into the next century. More fool me, because I have, as of this writing (Jan. 5, 2014), so far seen thirty pictures that were released in 2013, and I would put Scenic Route in the top five. All of these pieces that should not fit together in any way combined to make something special. [note: opening paragraph written before seeing Europa Report. Between these two movies, Dan Fogler bought a lot of years off his time in purgatory.]
Plot: Mitchell (Duhamel) and his childhood friend Carter (Fogler) are in the middle of a roadtrip when their truck breaks down in the middle of the desert. At the beginning of the ordeal, they seem to be friendly enough about it, but as time goes on and they realize they might be out there without food and water for an extended period of time, the needling gets sharper and more bitter.Read more ›
Reviewers on other sites have noted Josh Duhamel's incredible depth in performance. He certainly has proven his chops as a serious actor in this role. However, Dan Fogler's performance was equally if not more impressive. Fogler's cherubic style as seen in such role's as Franklin in the Hannibal TV series is also present in Scenic Route. But Fogler goes even further here as he explores more dark elements of man's depravity.
Indeed, this film in general considers not only the evils man is capable of but just how close the darkness is to the surface. You may watch this film and question how easily you or your close friends would turn on each other given the right set of circumstances. Duhamel and Fogler could easily remind you of types of people you know or even are. This is the sort of film that verifies the Calvinist's view on man's nature. But don't think this film is all about conflict. There is some humor here and genuine caring for one another.
And a film could never be described as, "Kafkaesque" if the ending did not make you question what really happened. Scenic Route fulfills this mandate in a haunting manner.
Another reviewer said this had a little bit of a twilight zone feel and I would agree... the ending sure looked like it and throughout the movie I kept thinking.. what could happen to them next that is worse that is going on... and I would get the answer by the next scene.
I goes along quickly and has enough story and intrigue to keep you focused. I recommend this one.
Here's the scoop. Two buddies, Mitch (Josh Duhamel) and Carter (Dan Folger) are on a remote stretch of highway in the desert. Carter's pick-up truck breaks down (sort of) and the time they now spend with one another uncovers the misgivings each has of the other's life choices. These misgivings give way to open hostility and the situation gets really intense.
This is all writing and acting and the level of both are very good. The story itself, for the most part, progresses logically. There was one significant plot point that I'm not sure I bought and the end pretty much ticked me off, but this moved along with great believability. I had some serious reservations about Duhamel's acting ability after seeing "Fire with Fire" but those were more than swept aside here. He turns in a very credible performance. Dan Folger was also really good. He WAS Carter. His hair, beard, dress and movements felt like someone I'd known in my life. These two played off each other well and there is little in the script that was odd. The things they talk about are things most people have experienced in their lives.
Almost entirely set on this little patch of road, the budget must have been very manageable. It was lensed well, cut well and has genuinely decent soundtrack. It might not be quite worth the 4 stars I gave it but it reads really smooth so have no reservations in viewing it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved it.
My only complaint would be that some of the survival tactics, or lack thereof, were a little odd. Read more
I was actually in Death Valley National Park while Scenic Route was being filmed. I drove by the main scenes location several times and even stopped to watch the shoot for a few... Read morePublished 6 months ago by White Salamander
Love this movie; already paid for it about four times; has it ever been on prime? I should have just bought the darn movie. Read morePublished 13 months ago by muffyroberts
I wasn't sure what to expect when I first saw this. I had no info going in, but looked like it might be a horror flick, based on the cover. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Midwest Reader
I loved this movie! Outstanding! One of the best of its kind! An outstanding example of its genre!Published 16 months ago by Danny Kwabena