HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Road Within
HTS Overall Score:72
The trailer for “The Road Within” grabbed my attention several months ago while reviewing another Well Go USA title and I don’t know why, but it seemed to really interest me. The trailer itself isn’t wildly exciting, but I know several people with severe social and mental conditions like the ones inside the movie and I was rather curious to see how it would turn out. Based off of a 2010 movie named “Vincent Wants to Sea”, it acts as a near scene for scene remake of that earlier outing, but takes a decidedly much more indie and “gritty” take than its polished predecessor. However, I do notice a definite feeling of “Hollywood” thrown into “The Road Within” as there was more than a few times where it felt overly saccharine sweet and sappy. Much more so than I expected from a gritty indie movie. I DID, however, have a good time with the relationship driven dramedy and was rather impressed with the performances by the leads.
Vincent (Robert Sheehan) suffers from a VERY extreme case of Tourette syndrome, a condition which causes violent spasms along with a stream of verbal epithets which range from the ridiculous to the outright offensive. For a patient suffering from this condition he doesn’t have a whole lot of control over the offensive language coming from his mouth as well as the involuntary body spasms. His mind recognizes that the disconnect between his actions and what he WANTS to say, but just can’t seem to overcome the impulses. His father, Robert (Robert Patrick) is a bit embarrassed of his son, and after Vincent’s mother passes away he sends Vincent off to Dr. Mia Rose (Kyra Sedgwick), a therapist who runs an experimental treatment facility for people with extreme conditions.
Once at Dr. Rose’s clinic, Vincent is paired up with a roommate in the form of a wildly OCD sufferer named Alex (Dev Patel), who has absolutely NO desire to saddled with a roommate who will interrupt his obsessive rituals. I always joke that I’m a bit OCD with my organizational tendencies and movie collecting habits, but in all reality those of us who make those little quips have no idea what real OCD actually is. Alex is a true sufferer, not even able to do simple things without performing a ritual such as opening and closing a door 5 times (no more, no less) before going through it, or wearing latex gloves due to crippling fear over germs and communicable diseases. The final patient that comes into Vincent’s life is Marie (Zoe Kravitz), a purple haired bad girl with the all famous anorexia nervosa mental issue. After a frustrating few days at the facility, Marie and Vincent decide to steal Dr. Rose’s car and make a break for some kind of freedom, even if only for a few days. “Accidentally” kidnapping Alex in the process the three misfits undertake a road trip of epic proportions to get to the beach, one place that Vincent has never been.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=48873[/img]Hot on their heels is Dr. Rose and Robert, desperate to get the kids back (albeit for different reasons). Dr. Rose wants them back under surveillance as quickly as possible before they hurt themselves, but Robert is furious with Vincent for ruining his political aspirations and is your typical angry and unrelenting father figure who can’t relate to his son. You can be sure that along the way there is going to be a lot of education, for both the adults and the patients.
The movie itself is an interesting mix of indie and Hollywood as the uber sweet “life lessons” come across as a bit hokey, but the gritty and awkward bonding that goes on between the 3 main leads is much more realistic and enticing. If it weren’t for the incredible absorption into the roles from Sheehan, Kravitz and Patel the movie would have ended up being a lot less fun. Their adventures can be a bit farfetched at times, but the chemistry that the three had was really enjoyable. Each character absorbed themselves into the role so thoroughly that you almost couldn’t see the actors. Actually knowing two people with two of the syndromes portrayed on screen made it even more poignant as I was able to instantly see the realism in both Marie and Alex. I don’t know anyone PERSONALLY with Tourette syndrome, but from what I gather, Vincent’s extreme case of Tourette was done surprisingly well. My ONLY niggle with the performance was Marie. I understand most actors will have a REALLY hard time portraying a truly anorexic person, but as thin as she was, a truly anorexic person who was on death’s door a few weeks prior would NOT have looked that healthy or had that much energy. I know someone very personally who suffered for decades with the condition and let me tell you, Zoe Kravitz looks overweight in comparison to my friend. I know most people won’t know the difference, but it was just enough to take me out of the film a few times. I guess that’s my OCD talking (yes, that was a joke).
While most of the children’s relationship bonding and life lessons were really well done, I did feel that the “growth” shown by Dr. Rose, and especially Robert, was a bit overly Hollywood, and clichéd. It wasn’t a bit deal, as I felt the movie was still quite enjoyable, but an hour and 40 minute (or several days in the movie’s time) just felt a bit too soon for Robert to undergo the complete change of character that he portrayed on screen. Dr. Rose was really just there for the ride, and to act as a foil for Robert’s aggressive nature, but Kyra did well with the role and acted as a calming aide for the belligerent father.
Rated R for language throughout, some sexual content/nudity and drug use
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=48881[/img]The 1.85:1 AVC encoded Blu-ray disc put out by Well Go USA is a generally pleasing disc that suffers from a few standard flaws. “The Road Within” is a bit bright and cheery, with solid colors and a white level that is pushed higher than normal (although it doesn’t wildly bloom like other contrast boosted films lately), but doesn’t take away from the warm coloring. There’s a bit of washed out blacks from the contrast boosting, but skin tones looks surprisingly natural and even a bit ruddy. Detail is impressive and even though the boosted contrast robs it of a little detail, the majority of the film contains a lot of impressive detail, from the acne on Vincent’s face, to the tiny little nose ring on Zoe Kravitz’s face. I noticed a teensy bit of digital noise in the dark scenes, and a few scenes that show some fairly significant color banding across the screen. It’s a good transfer, but as I said, has a few artifacts which keep the image from being stunning.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=48889[/img]The singular 5.1 DTS-HD MA lossless track available on the disc is just what you’d expect from a dramedy. It’s a bit front heavy with the majority of the muscle being desginated for the dialog. Said dialog is crisp and clean as expected, locked to the center channel and solidly balanced with the surrounds and lfe channel. Surround use is minimal and mainly used for ambient effects, or when pop rock score comes into the picture. LFE is good and solid, adding some nice low end to things like car doors slamming and vehicle engines roaring, but there are two scenes in particular that have some SERIOUS power and authority to them. Both of them are very obvious with one near the beginning of the film and the second near the end when Vincent loses it with Alex and you WILL know them when you hear them. It’s a good track for the genre and does everything asked of it with ease, so I give it a solid thumbs up.
• Theatrical Trailer
• Music Video
• Deleted Scenes
“The Road Within” is a more indie, and a fair bit edgier take on the 2010 version titled “Vincent Wants to Sea”, but one that ultimately feels a bit more cloying than it was intended. The performances by Patel, Kravitz and Sheehan really hold the movie together though, as their relationship is the focal point of the story. Their interactions and relationship feels real as can be, even with the forced saccharine tone to the movie and really had me engaged the entire time. The disc itself is standard fare for an indie dramedy, looking and sounding impressive enough to please video and audiophiles alike. It’s not a perfect movie, or perfect disc, but it was entertaining for yours truly and easily worth a rental to find out if you enjoyed it too.
Starring: Zoe Kravitz, Robert Patrick, Dev Patel
Directed by: Gren Wells
Written by: Gren Wells
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English DD 2.0
Studio: Well Go USA
Runtime: 100 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: July 7th 2015
Buy The Road Within On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Decent Rental
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