Road To Nowhere (2011) – Monte Hellman

Boy, what an apt title. Monte Hellman’s thick murder mystery ambles around a foggy plot about a movie being made about a crime in which some of the perpetrators are mysteriously portraying themselves. Much of it is cliched, not least of which a subplot about the young director falling for his leading lady and then becoming possessive of her. Nothing is explained well and it seems deliberately trying to frustrate, and not in a fun Godard way. Besides, getting me to like a movie about making movies should be such fish in a barrel that the fact that Road to Nowhere fails so miserably proves that it’s perhaps twice as bad. The story is told like a dream, but not the surreal vein of Mulholland Drive, but like a dream that you are aware of and hate but can’t wake up from. Before you know it, the story takes on a Scream-like self-referential tone where people deliver clunky advice learned from movies. All the dialogue seems improvised but not too well. The person I identified the most with is the hapless screenwriter, angry that no one is following the script. Road to Nowhere needed someone on the set like that. I can see where Hellman was going, and I can see the seeds of a good movie here, but sadly the most interesting moments are when the director and star of the movie within the movie are lying in bed and watching scenes from much better films.

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