Rob Reviews "Road To The Well"
We all have that friend that seems to come in and out of our lives at the most random of moments. You know, that person that you don’t hear from for a couple of years, and then there is a knock on your door, which tends to turn everything a bit upside down. Granted, they may not be a guy that you get caught up in transporting a body with (or maybe they are; I’m not here to judge you outwardly), but in writer/director Jon Cvack’s “Road to the Well,” that is what Jack (Micah Parker) and Frank (Laurence Fuller) have on their hands.
Frank is just an everyday guy that is trying to make the best of his life as he deals with a job offer that will take him out of town for a while. After attending the birthday party of his boss and finding his girlfriend in a compromising position with the birthday boy, he and newly-back-to-town Jack decide to have a night out on the town. When Jack encourages him to talk to a lady at the bar, they hit it off and as they are doing things adults do in his car, a man breaks in and murders her. Fearing that the authorities will not believe him, Frank and Jack take the body to the wilderness to get rid of it near the cabin of their long time but distant friend Chris (Barak Hardley). There is a lot more going on here, but I really don’t want to spoil too much.
Pertaining to that last sentence, it seems like there could be three different films within this script. Not to the point where I was in overload, but some of the side stories here would make very interesting films on their own. It does get into striking distance to distracting from the main story, but stays enough away to at least be on the frontage road to the freeway of the plot. Although the script is paced nicely, there were moments where there was exposition that may have been better placed, like the opening: the characters are introduced in a way that could have been placed more as a flashback to a point in the film where certain characters are introduced to easier refresh the audience as to who they are. I was a bit confused as to where we were once the story got started, and even though I had the “aha” moment when we got there, it was just a bit wonky.
What I really dug about this was the fact that this is an independent film without having that “indie” vibe to it. Cvack does a great job with what he has, accompanied by solid work by his cast. I would have liked to seen a bit more editing within certain scenes of dialogue in the first act, but the performances still shine through. Parker and Fuller work very well together, and since they really have to carry this film, they do so solidly. If there is a critique here, it is the character arc of Frank himself. I would have liked to see him as more of an evolutionary character from nice guy to “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take it anymore” with less stutter stepping and more of a linear style. It seemed like he got there and then stepped back a bit and then moved forward and then clammed up and so on. Fuller does emote the arc well, but it just gets a bit wonky. Jack is just a guy that knows who he is and knows how to manipulate those around him, which Parker absolutely nails. The supporting cast does exactly that (supports), but some of it gets a bit over-the-top and rushed at times, but again, not enough to take me away from what was going on at that moment. I am also a big fan of Conor Jones’ score here, which is haunting and an absolute perfect complement to the action at any given moment, leading up to a climax that really should be experienced without doing any research about the film itself. Stay even minor spoiler-free here, kids.
I would like to see “Road to the Well” done with the same cast and perhaps a bigger budget to make a tighter story that can be presented to a larger audience. This is definitely worth a rental in its current state and could be a good selection for a film festival near you, so check it out!