Rewind Review- Trucker (2008)

As those who know me, and if such a person exists, cyberstalk me, know I created this blog after writing on another site, which shall remain nameless, for a while. The point is, I have material sitting around waiting to be re-used on occasion I will re-post them here. Some of those articles or reviews may have been extemporaneous at the time but are slightly random now, hence the new title and little intro, regardless enjoy!

Trucker is a film that knows that dialogue is precious and never wastes it. It is not afraid to leave the subtext as just that- subtext. Too many films feel the need to say what you’re already thinking, what you already know and fill in that blank for you when it’s not really necessary at all.

Written and directed by James Mottern it tells the tale of Diane (Michelle Monaghan) a woman who, as the title suggests, makes a living by driving a big rig. The curveball that comes into her life is that her ex-husband is dying and his wife Jenny (Joey Lauren Adams) can’t watch Diane’s estranged son (Jimmy Bennett) because her father is sick.

OK, so at this point you want to say “Stop, I’ve heard this one before” and you would be correct but the success of this film, like that of many films, is not necessarily in its originality because original concepts and stories are in short supply but in their execution. This story is executed quite well indeed.

The strength of this film, like any film which is about real people and real situations, should be in it its ensemble. Michelle Monaghan believed a lot in this project and wanted to flex her acting muscles which can be assumed by the fact that she signed on as a producer of this film. While always maintaining a consistent and true characterization she hit several different notes and her evolution from unwilling babysitter to mother was perfect, unspoken and like most things in reality not a steady upward climb as there are several missteps along the way. She has the looks and the ability to be an A-List leading lady.

When there is a mother-child team it needs to be a harmonious and comfortable fit for the actors engaged in the story or we as an audience will check out emotionally, even if intellectually we understand the plight; the connection needs to be made. For that connection to occur both actors need to be on equal footing and Jimmy Bennett is certainly that. Although this film has been in the can for a while this adds to a long and impressive string of performances that Jimmy Bennett has been putting together from projects as disparate as Asia Argento’s The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things, one of the most psychologically effective and haunting movies of the decade to a blockbuster bit part like in Star Trek. His anger and rebellion at the beginning never feels petulant and whiny which shows that he was well-directed and at a young age has a good deal of natural talent.

The supporting cast is also worth mentioning: Joey Lauren Adams, who is best known for being Amy from Chasing Amy, who is very convincing as the woman stuck in the middle of all this family drama. Why she never had a career akin to Renee Zellweger’s is beyond me. Then there is Benjamin Bratt who played the sick father who is better than I’ve ever seen him in anything in this film. Him and his son share a very emotional scene which is the epitome of restraint on the part of both actors and it was great to watch. Nathan Fillion plays Runner the confidant and new father figure for Peter and was also very well-played and also a developed character of his own.

The film ends at the right time on a beautifully framed and orchestrated pull out, the pace is spot on and it never drags. It is always seeking to move forward and it never seeks answers but resolutions because that’s what we typically get in life: moving on, forgiveness, unspoken apologies and if you’re lucky a second chance.

8/10

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