Review: ‘Reservation Road’
This Oscar hopeful unfortunately falls short. Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Ruffalo star in this serious drama about the effect of a hit and run can have on the two parties involved; the grieving family and the runner. Ruffalo plays the runner and i good as always. Playing the tortured soul to a great effect, we can buy into his pain and struggle with carrying on with the guilt or facing the music and turning himself in. The major hitch in his dilemma is that he loves his son and wants to be the good father to him that he never had; he also wants to watch the Red Sox win the World Series. Phoenix also plays his part well with the obsessed father doing anything to seek “justice” for the loss of his son. Phoenix’s wife in the movie is played by Jenifer Connelly who turns in some great work as the grieving mother that is trying to move on with life without losing her husband.
As for the story, everything is there. Grief filled family, check. Fighting parents, check. Tortured soul, check. It’s the other elements that make things kind of fishy. The fact that Ruffalo ends up working on the case for Phoenix is a bit of a stretch, even for a small town, and is a bit convenient. Ruffalo is also able to doop everyone fairly easily by renting a car as well. The arc’s for the Connelly and Phoenix are also a bit amiss. Phoenix falls into revenge mode in a hurry and isn’t very deep beyond a couple shades of change. While Connelly goes through the grieving process a bit fast for my tastes, especially since the movie takes place over the course of the Red Sox 04 playoff run, which in itself is an interesting backdrop.(How can we make this great moment wrapped in sadness to stick it to Boston)
Overall it is a very heavy movie, that has solid performances all around. The movie’s logic might be a bit off at times but there are some great scenes sprinkled through out, usually with Ruffalo dealing with his guilt, but in the end the movie fails to take it to that next level of being anything more than, ‘it was good’.