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In LA, Jason Lair is recently separated, living with his grandfather and his son; he's a banker, tense, with a limp. Grandfather Henry, an archaeologist, wants to take the family van on a trip to Albuquerque. His plans are interrupted when Turner, Jason's father and Henry's son, appears after years of absence. Henry wants to celebrate family, as does Zach, Jason's son; Jason is angry and distant, Turner seems detached and says he's got a bus to catch in the morning. This prompts Henry to put in place an elaborate plan that will send his "tribe" on that VW bus trip to New Mexico sorting out relationships and digging up a crippled family history. Dust and dogs figure prominently. Written by
I picked up on AROUND THE BEND for the actors, in particular Josh Lucas, one of the underrated actors of his generation. With Michael Caine and Christopher Walken also in the cast, I was further intrigued. After catching it at the Austin Film Festival, I can't recommend this movie enough.
If you've ever had to make peace with a prodigal family member -particularly a parent- and a grandparent who manipulated matters make reconciliations- this story will resonate deeply.
Jason (Lucas) lives with his ailing grandfather Henry (Caine), and son Zach (Jonah Bobo), and a live nurse. When Jason's father, Turner (Walken) suddenly shows up, we instantly learn of abandonment and a lot left unsaid. Henry insists on a road trip, and everyone declines; Henry settles the matter by dying just after planning it with the help of Zach.
Using Kentucky Fried Chicken as a metaphor for plastic living, the three survivors start out on a journey of discovery and ash-spreading. The expected dark secret and bonding occurs, but it's a journey worth exploring with these three.
The cast is excellent, and have great chemistry; the only shame is that due to the storyline, Caine had so little time on screen. Bobo is absolutely amazing as young Zach; he gets as much done with a glance and a head move that veteran actors hope to accomplish; this kid is someone to watch for in the future. The soundtrack is outstanding, relying on 8 track music which really sets the mood without ever overwhelming, and only a few original piano based pieces by David Baerwald. All in all, story and structure it's a well made film.
This is not a male chick flick. It's about family, and reconciliation, even when someone isn't perfect. Writer/Director Jordan Roberts was inspired by his own father/son story when writing this.
AROUND THE BEND has a good balance between humor and heart, and more than worth your consideration.
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