We are taken on a road trip with three different characters whose lives appear to unravel before us. Forced to confront their shared past they attempt to reconcile their differences on the journey. From the outset my suspicions of a Beatnik-styled sojourn were dismissed as gradually, frame by frame, the substance of an original story reveals powerful social realism.
Ed Harris gives a stand out performance as Benjamin Ryder, the successful photographer of the pre-digital age and for which the film is centred. The key to the story is Benjamin’s son, Matt Ryder who makes the seismic shift from brooding antagonism to forgiveness and love for his father during the car trip. He forgives his father, Ed for his traumatic past and embraces his love. It’s a stellar performance by Jason Sudeikis; a certain mix of realism and non sentimentality. As the journey progresses you are drawn into their lives naturally, through real-time story telling.
The death scene is surprising in its reach in humanness – so often these sequences fall short. This one is made real, however, and is sensitively conveyed. The role of Zooey (Elizabeth Olsen) could have been larger but weighed up, counterbalances the depth of the other roles. Zooey, as supporting character is crucial in the story because without her, father and son would never have made up. Within these constraints, Olsen acts out the challenging complexity of a Zooey as mediating personality, one requiring both compassion and resolve to connect conflicting personalities. She convinces Matt Ryder to embark on the cross-country trip with his estranged father and to take the last of his photographic film to be developed. Fate brings three people together in mutual relationship that is life changing.
The journey seems to symbolize the strength of human nature in the face of changing fortune and the ability to settle differences before its too late. Life passes before our eyes and while we feel powerless to change it perhaps we may capture it in Kodachrome.
Directed by Mark Raso
Written by Jonathan Tropper
Ed Harris as Benjamin Ryder
Elizabeth Olsen as Zooey
Jason Sudeikis as Matt Ryder