Open Road [Blu-Ray] Marcio Garcia

Open Road [Blu-Ray] Marcio Garcia
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In the "Making of" supplement included with the Blu-Ray of forgettable road movie drama Open Road, several actors and crew members mention the difficulty of shooting a feature film in 20 days. They note the challenge of rushing through scenes with little opportunity to get additional coverage and takes, similarly remarking upon the very limited amount of time everyone had to develop their characters before jumping into production. Of course, this is all presented as a sidebar to the endless praise everyone bestows upon each other and the film, but that it was even mentioned says something about the nature of a work that, as presented, has a blandness often attributed to television movies written by producers with more of a knack for business than art. And while writer Julia Camara isn't a producer, she doesn't have a great deal to say either, trying to expand the experience of sleeping outdoors after an unexpected car breakdown into a feature length film about a young woman trying to find her place in the world. Angie (Camille Belle) lives a closed-off life, staying in a tent in the woods, when not waitressing at the local greasy spoon. She's earning enough money to drive herself around the country in search of the father that abandoned her as a child. Though presented as an artist unable to open up to or connect with anyone on a deeper level — her only verbalized identifiers are presented through Portuguese phone conversations with her Brazilian mother and sister — she's a bit of a blank slate, having limited complexities outside of those asserted by the flimsy narrative. In part, this stems from Belle's limited range as an actress, but the fault isn't entirely hers to shoulder. Director Marcio Garcia never establishes any sort of tone or style, instead filming everything with a flatness and banality that leave the screenplay and performances to carry the film. Since the script never establishes anyone beyond archetype — even the love interest presented, a cop (Colin Egglesfield) that invites Angie home when he finds her stranded on the side of the road, is little more than a smiling, empty vessel — the actors have very little to work with. Only Juliette Lewis tries to transcend the lethargic writing, making brave choices amidst the hampered conversations and unlikely character reactions. Exacerbating this is the lack of form, which is particularly evident when a troublesome phone call between Angie and her mother ends in tears; it's something Garcia focuses on for a good minute after the scene should have cut, presumably to showcase that Belle is capable of vague human emotion. These amateurish whim decisions and a genuinely uninspired trajectory (a girl can only find love and identity once she reconciles the love that abandoned her?) leave Open Road feeling like an unfinished experiment, one that should have been contemplated and considered for a few more years before hauling out a fancy digital camera that DOP Jonathan Hall describes as "organic" about nine times in the special features. (Universal)