Reservation Road Terry George

Reservation Road Terry George
Reservation Road examines the aftermath of an accidental split-second tragedy from the perspectives of both the victims and perpetrator. While the actors are appropriately forlorn as the music swells and camera lingers, a sense of connection is never fully established with the audience, which likely stems from an apparent lack of empathy from the director’s chair. When a Red Sox game goes into overtime, recently divorced lawyer Dwight Arno (Mark Ruffalo) receives a slew of phone calls from his sufficiently pissed off ex-wife (Mira Sorvino), who wants to know why her unreliable ex is unable to stick to a simple schedule while he has his son (Eddie Alderson). Fearing further wrath, Dwight speeds home, mildly distracted. This is where he inadvertently strikes and kills the son of College Professor Ethan Learner (Joaquin Phoenix) and his wife Grace (Jennifer Connelly) and continues driving. While Grace falls into traumatic shock following the untimely death, Ethan funnels his anguish into a vengeful rage, desperately seeking the man who stole his son from him. Meanwhile, Dwight struggles with the guilt of his actions, vacillating between turning himself in and masking the situation altogether. Unsurprisingly, performances by all thesps are standout. Mark Ruffalo, in particular, brings much-needed humanity to a genuinely unlikable character. Despite some sloppy writing rife with stereotypes, and a frustrating relationship with his bland son, Ruffalo rises above. Also, Connelly adds dimension to her underwritten character, bringing believable, heartbreaking grief to the surface. On the other hand, Joaquin Phoenix never fully connects with his character, going through the motions without successfully conveying inner-conflict. Part of this likely stems from Terry George’s (Hotel Rwanda) bland, homogenous direction. He films the actors as they yell and cry with apparent apathy. In the "making of,” George discusses how he thought it was interesting that these affluent white Americans were so distraught over the loss of their son when other cultures around the world deal with it daily. It is perhaps this perspective that leaves the audience feeling cold after watching the film, which acts as an observation of these people rather than an identification with. The DVD also includes deleted scenes that appear to have been trimmed only for the purpose of running time. (Alliance)