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Reservation Road

R CC
4.0 out of 5 stars (90) IMDb 6.7/10

Academy Award nominee Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Ruffalo and Academy Award winners Jennifer Connelly and Mira Sorvino deliver riveting performances in the gripping thriller Reservation Road.

Starring:
Joaquin Phoenix, Elle Fanning
Runtime:
1 hour, 42 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Thriller
Director Terry George
Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Elle Fanning
Supporting actors Jennifer Connelly, Sean Curley, Samuel Ryan Finn, Eddie Alderson, Mark Ruffalo, Susan Powell, Cordell Clyde, Antoni Corone, Kevin Herbst, Mira Sorvino, Gary Kohn, John Slattery, Nora Ferrari, Linda Dano, John Rothman, Geisha Otero, Brett Haley, Sinead Daly
Studio NBC Universal
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 12, 2008
Format: DVD
The profound effects of the accidental death of a child on three families is vividly portrayed in this dark film by writer/director Terry George ('Hotel Rwanda', Hart's War', 'In the Name of the Father') as adapted and co-written by John Burnham Schwartz on whose novel the film is based. While it seems we are seeing a glut of films dealing with revenge on the part of injured people who feel the Law isn't fulfilling its duty, when a film such as RESERVATION ROAD comes along the theme feels fresh.

Ethan and Grace Learner (Joaquin Phoenix and Jennifer Connelly) and their children Josh (Sean Curley) and Emma (Elle Fanning) are the 'perfect family', living comfortably in Connecticut, until one night after a picnic where Josh captured fireflies for his sister, the family stops at a roadside station and while Josh releases the fireflies at his mother's request he is hit by a car and killed. The driver of the car is Dwight Arno (Mark Ruffalo) who is trying to return his son Lucas (Eddie Alderson) to his estranged, remarried wife Ruth (Mira Sorvino) after a baseball game that ran too long. Instead of stopping when he hits the child, Dwight drives on, not wanting to upset his son. Within the tragedy of the next week the Learners are devastated and feel the police are not finding the perpetrator. They decide to engage a lawyer to assist the investigation and the lawyer they engage is Dwight, a man so torn by the sadness of his life that he is barely functioning - trying to find some solace in restoring a solid relationship with his son while dealing with the fact that he has killed another family's son.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
It has been hard to write this review, as I really loved the book and the author did work on the screenplay (which was ultimately trimmed by the director, I believe).

The movie has so many strong points and it deals with one of the most painful losses a parent can endure - and in such a terribly tragic and sudden way, no warning at all.

MAJOR SPOILER ALERT: When the Lerner family is driving home one night, they make a stop at a gas station. That is when their son gets out of the car to let some lightening bugs out of a jar, a car comes along, hits him and kills him - and two families' lives are forever changed. Joaquin Phoenix does a fine job as Ethan, the father of the dead boy. His anger is palpable. Also, if you see the DVD make sure you listen to his description of how hard it was for him to channel that anger. He actually had to talk to victims to get a sense of how they felt after losing a child.

It is hard not to feel sorry for both fathers - the one whose son was killed and the one who accidentally was the killer. Dwight Arno is the man who happened to drive into the boy and his pervading sadness is crafted superbly by Mark Ruffalo, an actor who always seems on the edge of sadness to me.

These men have wives, of course, and I don't mean to slight them - or the actresses behind their depiction. Jennifer Connelly is Grace, wife to Ethan and mother of the dead child. Mira Sorvino is equally strong as Dwight's wife, although they are divorced, but share custody of a son.

Having noted the solid acting in this movie, I do have to add that the plot did disappoint, having such high expectations after having read the book.
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Format: DVD
"Reservation road" is by far one of the most gripping and tense thrillers of the year. The previous similar movie that I keep in mind was the unforgettable classic of Claude Chabrol: "This man must die" .

A fateful night, an unpleasant and disgraced incident will join the lives of two well different families, and so the anger, despair and pain will involve the heart and minds of these uncomfortable parents. In this order of ideas, and after having lost the patience and faith in the judicial system the next step of this troubled father will be to go for legal advise, and so the destiny will gather the prey and hunter face to face.

All the cast was terrific but Jennifer Connelly steals the show . her forceful and demanding performance overpasses the well known limits of the used to become a true reference pattern.

Watch her for instance, at the moment her husband refers her about the incident of the fireflies and observe carefully the dramatic progression of her facial aspects; or the brief but intense dialogue with him at the moment she wants to give all the things of her beloved son.

So, you will have not only a vibrant and riveting thriller, but a first -class performance and a careful camera work all the way through, that will involve you from start to finish.

Absolutely recommended.
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The Lerner family attends a summer concert featuring their son, Josh. Ethan (Joaquin Phoenix), the dad and a Professor, his wife, Grace (Jennifer Connelly) and their daughter clap enthusiastically when the concert is over. During the drive home, Emma (Elle Fanning, Dakota's sister) has to stop at a gas station to use the restroom. Divorced dad, Dwight Arno (Mark Ruffalo) and his son Lucas (Eddie Arno) are enjoying a Red Sox game when the game goes into overtime prompting Lucas' mom (Mira Sorvino) to call them because they are late. Racing home, Lucas falls asleep as Dwight watches the time tick away. His ex-wife is sure to cause a scene and he doesn't want to ruin the memory of attending the game with his son. Rounding a dark bend, he notices Josh too late and swerves, causing Lucas to bump his head and wake up. Dwight speeds away; convincing himself he hit a log on the side of the road. Ethan watches in horror as his son becomes the victim of a hit and run. Grace and Emma come running out and Ethan tries to comfort them. The police follow some leads, but they have little to go on as Ethan didn't see the license plate or make of the car, he only knows it was an SUV. Someone suggests Ethan hire a lawyer to help make sure the police stay on track and to pursue a civil case, should it become necessary. He walks into Dwight's law office. As the police investigation continues, Ethan becomes more and more obsessed with finding the killer, unable to adequately help Grace or Emma deal with their pain. Dwight also lives in constant fear of being found out and starts to lose sleep with the guilt of what he has done.

"Reservation Road", directed by Terry George ("Hotel Rawnda") and based on the novel by John Burnham Schwartz is a very faithful recreation of the book.
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