I knew nothing about the plot when I rented this film. With Joaquin Phoenix, Jennifer Connelly and Mark Ruffalo starring in it, I figured it would be, at the very least, good, and it was. From the beginning scenes, a palpable tension is created; you just know something awful is about to happen despite two normal family outings being the subject matter. From then on, the plot reels out in an arc rife with too many coincidences, but the direction was able to pull it off without making me want to groan. There are some emotional scenes that would have played a little better had they been more subtle. The police officer and Mark Ruffalo were flawless. The children were outstanding. I'm not sure if it was Joaquin's character, the script, the direction or what, but he did not keep me riveted as he usually does; a bit over-acted perhaps. Jennifer delivered a couple of lines that didn't ring true--could have been an editing problem. The obsession of anger/justice seems a bit premature. It would have been better to see a progression. Despite my criticisms, I found enough mastery and depth of character to recommend it and give it a 7. I found myself worrying that the ending would ruin the film but it was faultless and convincing.
Action / Crime / Drama / Thriller
Action / Crime / Drama / Thriller
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On a warm September evening, college professor Ethan Learner, his wife Grace, and their daughter Emma are attending a recital. Their 10-year-old son Josh is playing cello - beautifully, as usual. His younger sister looks up to him, and his parents are proud of their son. On the way home, they all stop at a gas station on Reservation Road. There, in one terrible instant, he is taken from them forever. On a warm September evening, law associate Dwight Arno and his 11-year-old son Lucas are attending a baseball game. Their favorite team, the Red Sox, is playing - and, hopefully, heading for the World Series. Dwight cherishes his time spent with Lucas. Driving his son back to his ex-wife, Lucas' mother Ruth Wheldon, Dwight heads towards his fateful encounter at Reservation Road. The accident happens so fast that Lucas is all but unaware, while Ethan - the only witness - is all too aware, as a panicked Dwight speeds away. The police are called, and an investigation begins. Haunted by the tragedy, both fathers react in unexpected ways, as do Grace and Emma. As a reckoning looms, the two fathers are forced to make the hardest choices of their lives.
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Well crafted character study of tragedy
College professor Ethan Learner (Joaquin Phoenix),his wife Grace, their son Joah and daughter Emma (Elle Fanning) stop at a gas station late at night. Josh gets out. Dwight Arno (Mark Ruffalo) accidentally runs him over and drive away. Dwight is a divorced dad afraid of losing the limited custody of his son. Ethan is impatient for progress in the police investigation. He hires lawyers and Dwight turns out to be an associate in the firm. As the investigation tightens, the question becomes what what Ethan do when he finds the perpetrator.
The actors are some of the best. The material is an unrelenting grind. It insists on pounding the emotional darkness. It is heavy. It also refuses to take sides. However, the crushing load doesn't lead to a satisfying ending. It's a long straight grind with some terrific actors doing good work. The ending could have gone several different ways but it seems to have taken the straight ahead main road.
Powerful and Heartbreaking Drama
In Wyndham Harbor, Connecticut, Professor Ethan Lerner (Joaquin Phoenix) is driving back home with his family after attending a recital where his ten-year-old cellist son Josh (Sean Curley) played. His wife Grace (Jennifer Connelly) asks Josh to let the fireflies he put in a jar go, otherwise they would die. When their daughter Emma (Elle Fanning) asks to go to the restroom, Ethan parks the car in a gas station on Reservation Road and Josh goes to the shoulder to release the fireflies. Meanwhile the divorced lawyer Dwight Arno (Mark Ruffalo) is driving his son Lucas (Eddie Alderson) back to his ex-wife Ruth (Mira Sorvino) home after watching a Red Sox baseball game. When his cell-phone rings, his eyes are simultaneously hit by the headlights of another car; and Dwight looses the control of his Ford Explorer, hits Josh and in panic he drives off. Josh dies and the disturbed Ethan becomes obsessed, trying to locate the hit-and-run driver, affecting his relationship with his family. When he feels that the police will not locate the killer, Ethan hires Dwight to help in the investigation and bring the driver to justice. The family man Dwight is divided between going to the police station and loose his son and live with an increasing remorse.
"Reservation Road" is a powerful and heartbreaking drama based on a fatal hit-and-run accident that destroys two families. Any driver may face a similar situation, and both characters deserve sympathy. Ethan looses his beloved son and destroys his marriage seeking revenge. Andy was raised with a traumatic relationship with his father and he wishes to spare his son from similar environment. However he knows that he would go to prison and lose the growing of his boy. Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Connelly and Elle Fanning have excellent dramatic performances; however, Joaquin Phoenix performs a character obsessed by death wish, almost deranged, and his character is quite unpleasant. In my opinion, Ethan should balance a little more his grieving with his need of revenge and be more empathic, connecting better with the audience. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil)? "Traídos Pelo Destino" ("Betrayed by the Destiny")