Review: Road to Nowhere DVD

Road to Nowhere DVD boxSTUDIO: Monterey | DIRECTOR: Monte Hellman | CAST: Shannyn Sossamon, Dominique Swain, Tyge Runyan, Waylon Payne, Cliff De Young, John Diehl
8/23/2011 | PRICE: Blu-ray $34.95, DVD $26.95
featurette, interviews, Q&A from Nashville Film Festival
R | 122 min. | Romance thriller | 1.78:1 widescreen | DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1/Dolby Digital 5.1 | English and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Road to Nowhere movie scene

Femme fatale as femme fatale: Shannyn Sossamon makes a movie in Road to Nowhere.

Back directing after an absence of over two decades, Monte Hellman, the auteur behind the 1970s cult favorites Two-Lane Blacktop and Cockfighter, delivers a fiendishly clever, elliptical film noir with Road to Nowhere, which plays tricks on its audience right until the very end.

A movie so inside that insiders might not even get it, Road tells of a filmmaker named Mitchell Haven (Tyge Runyan, Snakes on a Plane). He’s helming a political thriller centering on a scandalous case about a politician’s involvement with a murder, a suicide and a duplicitous woman (Shannyn Sossamon, The Rules of Attraction). For the part of the woman, Haven casts a nonprofessional actor (also played by Sossamon) who happens to be the spitting image of the lady caught in the scandal. Hellman also introduces a conspiracy-obsessed blogger (Dominique Swain, Fall Down Dead) to the proceedings, which begin to turn international in scope.

Meanwhile, the real and reel life — as well as the romance and thrills — continually overlap, intertwine and merge, and even the most astute audience members are likely to be either totally confounded or in desperate need of a second viewing. Credit Hellman and screenwriter Stephen Gaydos, an editor at Variety magazine, for delivering an enigmatic and thought-provoking film about the nature of moviemaking that is as frustrating as it is fascinating.

Of the small bonus features package on the DVD, the making-of featurette is the standout, wherein screenwriter Gaydos talks about the art of films about filmmaking and various cast members puzzle over the intricacies of the movie.

Also on the disc is a Q&A from the 2010 Nashville Film Festival, which features Gaydos and Hellman and is highlighted by a relatively interesting question or two, but nothing all that inciteful.


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About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.