An evangelical family offers a traveling knife salesman a ride on their way through upstate New York.
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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Gerry
...
Ed
...
Grace
Caitlin Rider ...
Roller Rink Waitress
...
Anna
Sharon Smith ...
Diner Patron
...
Jake
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An evangelical family offers a traveling knife salesman a ride on their way through upstate New York.

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January 2009 (USA)  »

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Messerspitze  »

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Effective atmosphere and tone but a shame it is rather obvious and slow in content
17 March 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

A knife salesman is on down on his luck and is trying to get by without a car when he gets reached out to by a family of evangelistic Christians who happen to be travelling the same way and offer him a lift. As the odd group travel across the state they stop at some typically red-state places (the diner, the roller-rink) and the topics of Jesus and America start coming up – topics that salesman Gerry has long since stopping thinking about.

This film does atmosphere really well. It has a constant unnerving stillness to it and the deliberate cinematography makes it look really good in a passive but suggestive way. The focus on small detail helps this but I also liked that even noisy diners and roller-skating rinks were presented in a dead, rather creepy way just with the sound and the look of the scenes. It continues this deliberate tone all the way to the end and it is this that I enjoyed it for. It is a real shame then that it doesn't have much around this to help. The plot is a lot more obvious than I would have liked and the use of "red state Christians" is overdone and limits the film in how simply it uses them as caricatures. The rather obvious direction of the plot also means that we don't get much of a payoff in return for the slow burn pace – it has merit in the ending but not too much.

The performances are mostly good. Gorn is a solid lead while Sheil is very good in her role, a lot of stillness and pain in there and, although hard to describe, she sold her character. The others have simpler characters and deliver them straight for what they are, which is a shame but not their fault. The film does the atmosphere well and those that enjoy their films to have a creepy slow burning style will enjoy this one, but it is a shame that it treads such a familiar path while it does it.


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