Three’s Not a Crowd on The Loneliest Road in America
by Annie Vinton
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The Loneliest Road in America is first and foremost, the perfect film for the movie-goer who is looking to connect with characters. It’s also one of those rare independent films done well on so many levels that the audience will watch it and know if it lands in the right hands and hits the big screens, or even some medium size screens, it will assist in advancing the careers of a few, if not all involved.
Shot on not even half of a “shoestring budget” with an “all hands on deck” approach, this indie is a standout from others in its genre because of the collective commitment and team approach under the guidance of first time director Mardana Mayginnes. It’s well written – with conversational, realistic dialogue – well acted, well directed and the director of photography and cinematographer had a knack for capturing some of the amazing skylines and moving scenes in one shot, since limited budgets and time forced the urgency.
Part of the film’s description reads, “On the road trip of his life, Jamie learns how to exploit women as a corporation would a resource” but there is more depth than this. When first introduced to Jamie (Colin Michael Day) and Matt (Chris Hayes) it seemed this might just be another “guy flick” with two-dimensional post graduate guys, who seem to be the antithesis of one another, on a beer guzzling road trip. While there are a few clichés woven into the story line, they’re easily admonished through subtle dialogue and actions hinting that these guys are on more than just a drive on America’s Route 50 dubbed, “The Loneliest Road of America.”
Ashley (Abby Swagart) enters the picture as a female protagonist and at first she may be construed as a distraction and intrusion to the road trip, but she holds her own as her insecurities of her place in “the real world” are peeled off like layers with each mile traveled.
The film’s leads are supported by well thought out characters who don’t spend much time on screen, but through their interactions, insights and in some circumstances their simplistic nature make the road seem much less lonely. These ancillary plots contribute to the credibility of Jamie, Matt and Ashley and lend well to the exploitation of their inner conflicts allowing the audience to better understand who they are and what really makes them tick.
There are some unexpected twists along the way and only a few moments, from a production standpoint, reminding us this is an independent film. These transitions are rare and without a doubt do not overshadow that this is one of those worthwhile independent films deserving of a shot at the big screen. Most importantly, The Loneliest Road in America allows Mayginnes and his solid cast a chance to prove they’re not just not just filmmakers, but they’re in the business of making movies - good movies.
Annie Vinton Annie Vinton is a freelance writer and film critic living in NYC. You can read more about her and her writing at her blog here.
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