Reservation Road: A Quiet Movie for a Quiet Crowd

Reservation RoadReservation Road, by director Terry George (Hotel Rwanda), is based on the moving novel by John Burnham Schwartz. It is a story about how two families are affected by means of a single, and a rather seemingly un-connected incident. Dwight Arno (Mark Ruffalo) is a typical American father who takes his son to baseball games, connecting in a way only two friends can. Ethan (Joaquin Phoenix) and Grace (Jennifer Connelly) are proud parents of two adorable children, 10 year old Josh and an 8 year old Daughter Emma. Dwight is the weekend custodian of his son, emerging from a very ugly divorce with his ex-wife played by Mira Sorvino.Dwight is involved in a hit and run, killing Ethan’s son Josh on Reservation Road.The story revolves around Ethan finding justice and Dwight coming to terms with his guilt. With each passing day the two lose a part of themselves to a side they never knew existed.The character of Ethan in the film is shown to be hesitant but willing to go to any lengths to get justice. As time passes the case gets cold but Ethan cannot deal with his loss and decides to hire a lawyer to fight the system. He hires Dwight unaware of the fact that he is the perpetrator. Ruffalo and Phoenix steal the show, as their screen presence is empowering. This film is a view into the eyes of the victim and the “monster”. The audience sympathizes with both of them and the director has tried to be unbiased while dealing with the subject. The movie can be as quick as lightening and at the same time, as painfully slow as molasses; the running time-140 minutes seem like a lifetime. The pathos often plunges the viewers into a deep sleep. Uninspired at times, the story meanders along heading nowhere and stagnates ever so often.Terry George gave us Hotel Rwanda, proving that he was a genius in his own right. For all those expecting another masterpiece will be tormented and left unsatisfied. It is certainly better than Rambo-IV- Stallone’s quest for destroying faulty dialysis machines and saving the senior’s home! But that’s a story for another day!!Patanjali Pahwa