Monday, July 30, 2018

Movie Review: "Kodachrome" (2018)

Director: Mark Raso
Year: 2018
Rating: TV-MA
Running Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

A dying photographer, his nurse, and his estranged son embark on a road trip to a small town in Kansas to develop the photographer's last few rolls of Kodachrome film before they stop producing it forever.
"What's the point of having an artifact if you never see it with your own eyes?" (Image Source)
Does an insufferable human being need a little perspective and redemption? According to Mark Raso, the best way to do that is with a road trip, because there's nothing that will improve a relationship more than being stuck in a confined space with said person for hours on end. "Kodachrome" is directed by Mark Raso, who has one other feature film credit to his name, the 2014 indie movie "Copenhagen." It is written by Jonathan Tropper and is based on a New York Times article by A.G. Sulzberger. It stars Jason Sudeikis as Matt, a music producer working for an independent record label. Matt has just lost his biggest client and is on the verge of losing his job altogether. Just as he is trying to make a last ditch effort to save his career, a woman named Zoe (Elizabeth Olsen) shows up and tells him that his father Ben (Ed Harris) is dying. Ben is a renowned photographer and has a couple of rolls of Kodachrome film that need to be developed. The only place in the world that develops this type of film will no longer do so in a matter of days. Ben wants Matt to drive him there, but Matt hates his father and is reluctant to do so. Everything changes when Matt learns that his dad's manager can get him a meeting with a band that's on the verge of global stardom. Signing them to his label would mean saving his job. Against his better judgment, Matt agrees to go on the road trip with his dad and Zoe.
"You can tell a lot about someone's past by what they listen to." (Image Source)
"Kodachrome" has a fantastic cast featuring some stellar actors like Jason Sudeikis, Elizabeth Olsen, and the criminally underappreciated Ed Harris. If it weren't for their extraordinary talents, this movie would not be nearly as successful as it is. Sudeikis is mostly thought of as a comedian, which may lead people to (incorrectly) believe that this is a comedy when it is most certainly not. Sudeikis has shown that he has a knack for the dramatic as well. Though he is great in this movie, he showed his best dramatic acting chops in "Colossal," another film you should watch immediately. Ed Harris also gives an excellent performance as a combative old asshole who constantly does his best to make his son's life miserable. Elizabeth Olsen gets to play intermediary between these two stubborn men who constantly butt heads but are trying to repair in a week what took years to destroy. She, unfortunately, doesn't get much to do here, but she still kills it.
"You would have saved us all the trouble if you had just shot digital." (Image Source)
Overall, "Kodachrome" is a mostly formulaic road trip movie about redemption and understanding. It has an obvious forced romantic sub-plot that we saw coming the second the story began. One big problem with this movie is it fails to make the audience empathize with the character of Ben. He proves himself time and time again to unworthy of forgiveness and does nothing to earn salvation. The only reason we feel anything for him at all is that he's dying, which apparently means we have to care about the fact that he was a shitty, absent father who valued his work over his family. This makes it seem like his illness is little more than a cheap plot device to create unearned emotion. The inevitable redemption doesn't come organically at all. In fact, it seems to come out of nowhere. It only happens because the writer felt like it needed to happen because kids are supposed to forgive their parents on their deathbeds. Still, "Kodachrome" does have its moments of joy and humor, and as we said, the top-notch acting helps elevate an otherwise derivative story.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.8/10
RT Rating: 72%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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