Interstate 84

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Ross Partridge directed this unconventional American indie flick that starts as a mystery but soon unfolds into an existential tale of life and faith. Joe Weldon (Jon Littlefield) is a hard-drinking cop working the beat in a small town in upstate New York. His life is in utter shambles: his wife dumped him, his kids are afraid of him, and he regularly blacks out from drinking too much. Yet when he learns of an unknown dead man recently dragged out of the Hudson River, Joe tries to find redemption by finding out more about the case. Carrying only a Bible, a telephone number, and a toothbrush, the corpse possessed few clues as to his life. Later, the dead man's past is uncovered; his name was Hap (Joel Garland), a corpulent idiot savant who lived in the backwoods and had the mysterious habit of waiting on a bridge that spans Interstate 84. But for whom? The search leads to a pair of shady characters: Vinny (Kevin Dillon) is a feckless family man and a sleazy hustler who befriends the hulking giant and then coerces him into working for his low-rent wrestling outfit; Freddy (Harley Cross) is a young punk who harassed Hap. As the film unfolds, all three of these desperate souls are changed, and in some sense redeemed, by Hap's death. This film was screened in the new filmmakers' section of the 2000 Toronto Film Festival.

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