Reservation Road - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Reservation Road Reviews

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February 11, 2013
If I have to see one more movie about a dead kid, the hunt for the killer, and the killer's own inner struggle; I'm gonna vomit. More wasted talent than ever with this fugly looking film. Why would Phoenix, Ruffalo, and hottiest of hotties Jennifer Connelly sign up? And Terry George decides to follow-up Hotel Rwanda with this? Bad decisions all around. What kills me more than anything is the trailer's poor attempt at build up of drama and tension and then we cap it all off with a (gasp!) gunshot sf/x. Lame goddamnit. Lame.
January 22, 2013
very emotionally distraught film, obvious given the subject matter.
Wasn't totally gripping since i found myself doing other nonsense tasks while watching.

People will complain about the ending. trust me they will.
½ December 1, 2012
dis is simple story...
but its so hurt...
November 25, 2012
Terry George is obviously passionate about the subject, and combined with the strong performances of all involved makes it an engaging film but certainly not a great one. Personally the loss of a child was portrayed more effectively in "In the Bedroom", but that's just my opinion.
November 24, 2012
Incepe bine, are actori, nu merge nicaieri
½ November 18, 2012
very very very touching story
½ October 20, 2012
really good story that is, sadly, all too real. both mark's and joaquim's portrayal as unraveling fathers, but for different reasons, were excellent.
½ October 12, 2012
The cast are the entire soul of this film. Without the talented players and moving performances, this film wouldn't be worth your time. So many wasted opportunities. While I will concede that the film does make you ask yourself, "What would you do?", my path would have differed from the main characters quite early on. Then again, you ask yourself, could or would I do the same?
October 11, 2012
Emotionally wrenching drama about dealing with loss of one who is near and dear. A tale of anger, revenge, and great courage. Great casts, a good enough thriller.
August 28, 2012
Fantastic acting and drama
August 27, 2012
Too lame, we can see where it's going, no fun, no suspense. Basically it's like a car wreck.
Super Reviewer
½ July 5, 2012
This psychological thriller paints the darkest picture: what if your child was killed in a hit and run? How far would you go to hunt the culprit? The movie, even though moving slowly, can rely on outstanding acting by the two leading men and Jennifer Connelly. While her reaction is solitude and deep sadness her husband Phoenix is angry and wants revenge. The fact that the man he is looking for ends up being his lawyer is maybe a tad much, like a couple of more coincidences throughout the plot. You can't help but wonder how it's all gonna end, though. As the noose tightens around Ruffalo's neck the viewers can't help but ask themselves how they'd react on both sides of this tragedy. Thankfully, the solution seems to find the only possible salvation.
½ June 12, 2012
What the contrivance?
June 11, 2012
This was boring and the story was awful. The description sounded kinda appealing but this fell short of my expectations. It seems a little far fetched that a not only a child is hit and killed without even one witness but then for the kids father to hire the actual killer as his attorney. It was outlandish and really made this movie lack not only credibility but sense. Ruffalo was decent but most of the time I was waiting for him to crack a dirty joke or something
½ May 28, 2012
good movie. kinda seemed really long at times, but yeah, it was good.
May 19, 2012
This was a good movie.....I love Joaquin but I kind of thought that he and mark ruffalo should have been switched. But I'd recommend it to watch
May 13, 2012
A highly emotional movie of a tragic hit and run accident.
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
April 28, 2012
Not to be mistaken for "Revolutionary Road", even though this film is also pretty bleak, or at least that's how the trailer made it seem. This film is pretty brutal, but is still kind of pulled back a bit on the bleakness, and yet, it's not like it matters too much, because seeing as this is Terry George writing and directing, this film could follow the car accident sequence with a scene in which Mark Ruffalo's Dwight Arno (Man, Dwight is dorky enough, let alone when your last name is Arno, which actually is kind of depressing) character, while escaping from the scene, hits a nuclear power plant, leaving us to watch, in slow-motion, for the next hour, the subsequent nuclear explosion engulf the city and kill everyone horribly, and we would still not be disturbed. Man, George couldn't even make a film about the Rwandan Genocide without it feeling like a Movie of the Week, and that film already had the advantage of that "Million Voices" credits song by Wyclef Jean, which was just a tiny bit more disgustingly horrifying than any installment in the "Saw" series. Oh, okay kids, don't worry, this film is kind of disturbing, I guess. Of course, that's probably just because it features Jennifer Connelly, and no matter how good-looking she is (Those weird eyebrows notwithstanding), you are instinctively obligated to be a little depressed whenever she's in front of a motion picture camera. Of course, when they give her room to act, it's hard not crack a smile, especially when she's backed up by Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Ruffalo. Still, the enjoyment recieved from watching these great performances, while certainly enough to cover up the bleakness, aren't quite enough to cover up the missteps.

Now, the film is a slow one, featuring a few dull spots that may be far and few between, but are still very much here, though not quite enough, because you'll be wishing for a slow tone after a while under the film's primary tone. As much as I talk up how this film isn't terribly bleak, it doesn't get that way for lack of trying, for although the film isn't overwhelmingly maudlin to the point of feeling pretentious in its emotional resonance, it certainly unrelenting in its dark tone, leaving the film to feel overbearing and rather repetitive. To make matters worse, as much as I exaggerate my complaints about the film not being dark enough, the lack of bleakness is, in fact, a flaw, in that thorough darkness would have given this film genuine emotional weight; but as things stand, being that this is Mr. Cheesball himself, Terry George, outside of a few golden moments in effectiveness, the only thing genuine about the emotional resonance is the fact that it is mostly some good ol' fashion "genuine" manipulation. Again, George doesn't drench the film in pretentiousness, so its manipulations aren't mean-spirited, though you kind of wish that it was at points, because this film is so absurdly good-hearted that anything from finding out that the victim character, Josh Learner, was hit when he got out of the car to release fireflies (Which is enough of a manipulation on its own) to the detailing of how the boy was killed, feels forced as a story piece into the film, as well as forced as an emotional resonance tool upon the audience, leaving certain aspects in the emotional resonance to feel overly histrionic to the point of going almost entirely de-humanized. This story is as heavy as it is very worthy, and while Terry George's heart is very much in the right place, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Of course, in that sense, this film certainly knows how to surve from danger better than Mark Ruffalo's Dwight Arno character. Seriously though, the film is certainly flawed, as George is a little too inspired, yet one of the aspects that make this film so good and rewarding is the fact that, while George doesn't always pull back as much as he should, with all his emotional pushing and pushing, he finds many moments where he breaks through, and more often than you would expect.

As I said, the story is a worthy one, and while Terry George realizes that a little too much, he'll pull back quite often; maybe not as often or as thoroughly as he should, but when George does pull back, the film really shines, glowing with compellingness, especially when the more mystery-thriller type aspects come into play. George makes the transition from overwhelming drama to intriguing mystery quite comfortable and organic, partially because he touches both sides of the story with mutual intrigue and compellingness that he may overplay quite often, but there is ultimately enough weight and meat to the atmosphere in the film that it's hard to not find yourself drawn in, if not rather touched at some points. Still, for that, perhaps more than Terry George, praise has to go out to our performers, even if they do stand as rather contradictory to the tone of the film, in that the film is often rather histrionic, while the performers are human and believable across-the-board, with sweeping emotional power anchoring it all. As I said, Jennifer Connelly is one to break your heart, and that case is certainly no different here, as Connelly gives a deeply emotional and enthralling portrayal of the Grace Learner character's role as a broken, struggling woman who has faced the unthinkable and unbearable, yet tries to keep it together as much as she can, only to fall back to pieces. Connelly's performance is haunting and very memorable, yet the spotlight truly shines upon leading men Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Ruffalo, and rightfully so, as these boys really know what they're doing. Phoenix is as amazing as always in his performance as a man who has faced unparalleled tragedy and no closure, feeling trapped and as if the only person who can get the job done, and pretty thoroughly, is him, and watching Phoenix subtley and emotionally portray the Ethan Learner character's layered unraveling from a broken man to a totally unpredictable man is a haunting experience matched only by the man on the other side of the story, Mark Ruffalo, who is tense, enthralling and all around powerful in his fiery portrayal of a man wrapped in horrible guilt for a mistake he ran away from and has him wondering whether he should confess and face potentially life-destroying consequences or try to get away to a life already threatened by destruction at the hands of unpalatable anguish. These two powerful actors are electric and truly take your breath away at every breakthrough, whether it be a breakthrough in tension or emotion, thus creating a pair of truly remarkable leads whose powerfully-portrayed struggles stand as one of the biggest reasons why this film is so very worth the watch.

In conclusion, the road that is this film is a bumpy one, with some slow spots breaking up unrelenting emotional manipulation that often taints the film's human touch and leaves its potential somewhat squandered, though never destroys it, as director/writer Terry George often finds points where he transcends those missteps to create genuine emotional resonance, as well as tension in some parts, though doesn't at deliver on that as powerfully as his unforgettable cast of sweeping talents, headed by Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Ruffalo, both of whom deliver equally layered, emotional and deeply compelling lead performances to help in steering "Reservation Road" in the right direction, more often than not, and ultimately leaving it to drive on as a rather enjoyable and ultimately rewarding drama.

3/5 - Good
April 27, 2012
not the BEST movie I've seen all year...but still kept me holding on for more. Phoenix and Ruffalo are two favorites of mine and seem to act well off each other...
a decent flick overall
April 23, 2012
So boring! I fell asleep over and over again!
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