Saturday, 15 February 2014

Toad Road (2012)

Oh god, I just don't care. No, I don't care about this movie in the slightest. And, given how little writer-director Jason Banker seems to care for any viewers, I feel that my disdain is justified. This is, and I truly mean this, a film full of characters that it's almost impossible to care about taking part in certain events that it's almost impossible to care about. Cover that over with a coating of technical proficiency and something could have been salvaged, but there's not even that saving grace here.

People have been quick to point out how spooky it is that leading actress Sara Anne Jones died soon after the film was complete, from a drug overdose. While I'm not going to say that I don't care about her death (I'm sure those who loved her were shocked and saddened, of course), I will say that it doesn't make this awful film any better. In fact, it kinda makes it worse to realise just how little going onscreen seems to have been acting.

The plot, and I use the word in its loosest sense, concerns a bunch of people who like to do nothing more than get so wasted that they have no control over their own bodies. James Davidson plays James, and Sara Anne Jones plays Sara . . . . . . . and how I wish for the days when actors, or even people roped into acting, were able to remember the name of an actual character instead of just using their own name. James has spent a LOT of time using drugs and wasting his life. Sara wants him to help her experience something truly memorable, something psychedelic, something that may have to involve Toad Road. Local legend has it that the area known as Toad Road actually allows people, in the right frame of mind, to pass through the gates of Hell. And that's what Sara wants to experience.

I realise that Banker obviously had an interesting idea, one concerning altered states of mind and self-destruction, but he's buried it under so much unwatchable awfulness that many viewers will take nothing away from the movie once the end credits roll. There are some (perhaps even many) who will argue that it's a great work of art, and a truly great experimental bit of psychedelia, and they are entitled to their opinion, just as I am entitled to think that I consider it an amateur mess, not helped in the slightest by the cast (most of them were actually just found getting drunk and high and out of control, just like they are shown in the footage during the first half of the movie).

I recommend avoiding this one completely. In fact, cross the street if you see a store that has a copy of it for sale. Unless you're rich enough to buy all of the stock available and then burn them in a sacrificial pyre, dancing and chanting in a way that may provide us with a dozen better movies written and directed by people who can work with actors and use a camera effectively.


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