The story revolves around the passengers of a yachting trip in the Atlantic Ocean who, when struck by mysterious weather conditions, jump to another ship only to experience greater havoc on the open seas.
Beth, a young woman who owns a restaurant close by an abandoned highway, shelters Barry, a young man who arrives at her door hungry and wounded. Soon, a group of men appears. Barry claims that they are after him. The handsome leader of the group tells Beth a different story... Written by
I'd never heard of it before either, but it was on TV in the middle of the night, and I copped Radha Mitchell's name in the credits. Radha Mitchell could make a root canal an engaging watch, bless her heart.
The story goes like this: Beth runs a diner and a motel on a desolate stretch of highway. She's a bitter loner, justifiably distrustful of the local authority and wildly unpopular with her neighbours. The only person who bothers speaking to her is the jealous hellbitch sending her hatemail. Her routine is broken by a scruffy, antsy stranger coming to the diner in a stolen car. Grateful for the interruption, and out of sheer bloody-mindedness towards the local lawfolk, Beth gives him a breakfast. She figures out that his agitation is closely linked to the fresh stab wound in his gut, but she figures this out just as more strangers arrive, this time a group of laid back surfers. Stranger #1 freaks out and threatens to kill her unless she hides him from the newcomers. Either the first guy or the second guys are nuts... which is it? What follows is sort of like... Duel, on foot. There's no background music, the desert locations are few enough to feel claustrophobic, Beth barely survives by only her wits and stubborn guts, and the questions just keep coming. Are the surfers a threat? Is the guy crazy? How did he get hurt? How come that fountain of gasoline looks so much like water, and how do three people and a stab victim brawl around in it without any irritation? Why is said gasoline so selectively flammable? Why does the local crazywoman hate Beth so much? Since when does Oregon have desert? But then it stumbles. After three quarters of a wire-tight, cat and mouse thriller, a major plot-point turns out to be largely redundant, and our characters get all MacGuyver on each other. It's a shame that the ending is so madly out of step with the rest of the film, but three quarters of a great film will do me fine, and Mitchell remains predictably and apparently effortlessly excellent, whether she's freaking out or fighting back.
6 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?