REVIEW: Scenic Route

4 03 2015

Scenic RouteExplicitly name-dropping influences within a movie is always a bad idea because it quite literally invites comparisons to the source. And it is an especially ill-advised move if that movie is a classic of the cinema like Martin Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver.”

Well, in Kevin and Michael Goetz’s “Scenic Route,” guess what they do when Dan Fogler’s Carter shaves the hair of Josh Duhamel’s Mitchell into a Mohawk? Yeah. Big mistake.

In “Taxi Driver,” Scorsese achieves fascinating results by playing around with the grammar and vocabulary of cinema itself. “Scenic Route,” on the other hand, feels rather stage-like in its setup. Two brothers, one car, driven slowly to insanity by getting stuck in the middle of nowhere for an obscene amount of time? Having just a pair of performers really seems like more of a theatrical conceit. Having the immediacy of their presence, combined with an unbroken temporal dimension of their escalating madness, sounds like a riveting play.

But on screen, it can feel rather excruciating. The Goetzs fail to use the confined space in any interesting way, and it makes the sub-90 minute runtime quite a chore. Not to mention, “Scenic Route” takes an odd, tonally inconsistent turn in its conclusion that feels totally unearned. So, to answer the question that Josh Duhamel is begging to ask – no, this film does not redeem his participation in the “Transformers” series.  C2stars