Saturday, July 14, 2012
"Road to Nowhere" is another movie about making noir movies, and drowning in the process
The title of the film “Road to Nowhere”, by Monte Hellman, is itself layered with multiple meanings. The film actually shows, with a bit of noir, the unfinished tunnel in the Smoky Mountains at the end of the road, which started in the 1940s, as well as the controversial dam, into which a small plane crashes in a critical scene. (There’s a site explaining the road here).
The title also refers, besides to the film, to a fictitious film which its lead character, a handsome likeable director Mitch (Tygh Runyan) is making about a North Caroline political scandal (not really that close to John Edwards).
When Mitch hires an inexperienced actress Laurel (Shannon Sossamon) from the “real world” to get closer to the real case, he, shall we say, gets more than he bargained for. OK, he finds Laurel romantically irresistable Is Laurel really Velma, murdered (in the “Revenge”-style plane crash)? If so, that would take this film into "Vertigo" territory. In the meantime, another consultant, Bruno (Waylon Payne) seems to be investigating Mitch.
Outside is all of this is a blog run by Natalie (Dominique Swain), which had inspired Mitch to make the film, but which has now inspired its own “Road to Nowhere” DVD.
In my own “Do Ask Do Tell” script, I have a structure like this: there is an inner fictitious screenplay about a possibly questionable encounter between a substitute teacher like “Bill” and a precocious student, there is a whole life story which incorporates the way the screenplay affected the real world, and there is an ashram, in the afterlife or on another planet, where Bill and various other characters have been brought . The “dude” in the inner screenplay is an “angel” running the show, and he has, by surfing Bill’s life and online presence, brought (or “abducted”) others to the ashram to carry Bill through his own particular tests (which can cross timelines). The outcome of the tests affects how these other characters will turn out in the “Purification”, most of which they have escaped (on Earth). “Bill” will find out that he is essentially different from many other people who have been taken in some particular aspect.
The Hellman film embeds some clips of famous films (the chess scene in "The Seventh Seal") and has a few embedded cameos (Leonardo di Caprio and Jack Nicholson). Perhaps the title will remind us of David Lynch and "Lost Highway" -- and some of the same noir (and North Carolina location) is here, if not all the outright weirdness.
In the end, of course, a “layered” film has to add up – else it’s gone “nowhere”. For Mitch, whom we have come to admire, it leads to lockup. Not all ends well here.
The official site (uses QuickTime) from Monterey Video (2010), is here.
Compare this to "Pornography: A Thriller" reviewed June 18.