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Monday, November 28, 2011

Reservation Road (2007)

After his son (Sean Curley) is killed in a hit and run accident in which the driver (Mark Ruffalo) fled the scene, a man (Joaquin Phoenix) becomes obsessed with finding the driver and getting justice for his son. This obsession takes a toll on his marriage. Based on the novel by John Burnham Schwartz who co-wrote the screenplay with the director Terry George (HOTEL RWANDA), the film starts out promisingly with a carefully detailed look on the unimaginable tragedy of losing one's child and dealing not only with the grieving process but the pain that the child's killer is still out there and its effect on the family and as well as the driver dealing with his guilt. It might have helped if Phoenix and Ruffalo had switched parts. Phoenix has such an off kilter presence that when his mental health deteriorates, it's almost expected. Seeing Ruffalo with his everyman persona unravel would have been less expected. The film's final act just doesn't work at all when it strays into the usual revenge territory of less accomplished films. Pity! The delicate score is by Mark Isham. With a strong performance by Jennifer Connelly as Phoenix's wife, Mira Sorvino, Antoni Corone, John Slattery and Elle Fanning.

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