Directed by Bill Paxton
Written by Darren Aronofsky
Produced by Kathleen Kennedy
Music by Jeff Danna
Bill Paxton as Lewis Hominick
Laura Dern as Jane Hominick
Sarah Chulke as Audrey Hominick
Cameron Bright as Danny Hominick
Alan Rickman as The Shadow
Ian McDiarmid as Sid Hominick
Illeana Douglas as Marcy Freedman
Tagline: “A road that never ends can lead to many truths"
Rated R for intense scenes, brief sexual content, disturbing images, and language
Runtime: 2 hours and 10 minutes (Drama)
Synopsis: It was a day like any other when Lewis Hominick opened his house door and called a family meeting. Lewis, the proud father of two children, Audrey and Danny, and proud husband to wife Jane, took a long look at a family he knew was falling apart, but did not know why. It was then Lewis decided the family need to take a vacation, a quiet, peaceful penthouse next to a beautiful lake and soft sand that the family used to rent out about 5 years from when Danny was born. He said they needed a break from their reality, little did the Hominick family know that they were in for a whole new reality.
It was the last time they'd get a sense of "their reality". The father takes the wheel and everything is fine, but there was still tension in the car that couldn't be explained. Night time arrives and Lewis starts to get impatient, he decides to take a shortcut he's heard of for years. Lewis doesn't hesitate and takes a left in the dark, misty fog on a straight forward road surrounded by a cloudy forest. An hour goes by, and there's no sign of signs, houses, or human life as the tension builds inside the car. They finally arrive to a broken down cabin in search for someone to ask for directions. The only thing they find is a dead corpse rotting on top of a dusty old desk. Judging from the knife placed in his back, he was murdered, but why, and who?
Hours pass now and it's been nothing but a straight forward path to the misery that awaits them. The longer the ride gets, claustrophobia sets in more and more as the secrets build more tension, with each family member having something to hide. As the family takes out their anger on each other, flashbacks throughout the film appear in a black and white manner. Little does Lewis know that while his father did die of drowning in a pool, it was Danny that witnessed it, as Sid cried for help, but Danny wouldn't respond, the reason being that Sid always thought lowly of Danny. While Jane is unaware that Lewis is having an affair with her yoga partner Marcy. In return what the family doesn't know is that Jane suffers from munchausen syndrome.
More bizarre acts occur as all of a sudden random objects that represent each family members secret arrive on the road placed by a shadow figure that the family is confused by as the truth starts to unravel. Is this mysterious man the killer on the loose? Is he behind the magic of "the road"? The ending finally concludes as the family lets out all emotions. As Danny has a conniption fit, his mother tries to calm him down, only to receive a slit throat from Danny's pocket chain knife. Danny goes in shock, and doesn't say another word, but the family must continue on. Upset by the killing of her mother, Audrey sits in the back with Danny, and quietly grips her fingers around his neck and puts him away, as two remain. Once Lewis sees the corpse of his son, he feels no remorse. Lewis finally loses his mind and puts a tire iron through Audrey's stomach. Not only did Lewis murder his daughter, but the child that she was conceiving, that Audrey hid from her family, with the shadow figure only representing the family's hatred towards each other.
What the press would say:
Every year there is always one film that leaves you speechless. You walk out of the theater, and ask yourself "What exactly did I just watch?" Then on the car ride home the film never leaves the back of your mind, it sticks like super glue. This is that film. What this movie consists of is a very compelling story with unforgettable tension and dialogue. Paxton is once again the man in the chair and the man on camera, as he was known for in his thriller Frailty. His artistic integrity shows again in his well orchestrated feature and no one better to write it than Requiems own Darren Aronofsky. Not only should Paxton's directing be under radar, his performance on camera is nothing like anyone has seen before. His leadership in his role only leads his supporting cast to be better. The flashback scenes are definitely Laura Dern's most memorable scenes, the troubled mother that only wants others to show her love, even if it means starving her children. Speaking of children, don't sleep on Cameron Bright and Sarah Chulke for a best supporting nod. Bright's evilness in his eyes is enough to win over your vote and Chulke makes you want to throw "Scrubs" out the window, because this is the film she will forever be remembered in. This is the family that you see at the grocery store and you say what a happy life it must be, this film only states don't judge a book by its cover. What is there to make of this road? Does the road have any symbolic meaning? Is it a test to see if the family can stick together through the worst, or a pure test of their own sanity? Was the road a figment of the Hominick family's imagination? Think what you want, because you will be thinking after you see this. I think the true meaning of this film was show the unparallel look of human behavior, a small spark can instantly fry a persons view on right and wrong, and that's what I think Paxton wanted to get across. Please viewers, don't shield yourself away from this, all naysayers not impressed with Paxton's ability and the rest of this cast and crew, I think you need a "new sense of reality".
Best Picture - Darren Aronofsky and Kathleen Kennedy
Best Director - Bill Paxton
Best Actor in Leading Role - Bill Paxton
Best Actress in Leading Role - Laura Dern
Best Actor in Supporting Role - Cameron Bright
Best Actress in Supporting Role - Sarah Chulke
Best Original Screenplay - Darren Aronofsky
Best Film Editing
Best Original Score - Jeff Danna