Road to Paloma (2014)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

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Movie Info

Jason Momoa of "Game of Thrones" and "The Red Road" makes his directorial debut and stars in this intense road movie as Wolf, a Native American on the run after avenging his mother's murder. As he flees across the desolate American West on his motorcycle, he'll discover that justice has a cost - Wolf's search for redemption will reveal secrets and take him on a journey where the roads have some very unexpected turns. (c) Official Site
Rating:
R (for language, sexuality and nudity, some drug use, and violence including an incident of sexual assault)
Genre:
Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 limited
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:

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Cast

Lance Henriksen
as FBI Agent Kelly
Timothy V. Murphy
as FBI Agent Williams
Wes Studi
as Numay
Steve Reevis
as Totonka
Lisa Bonet
as Magdalena
Tanoai Reed
as Moose
Charlie Brumbly
as Charles Grisby
Megan Oliver
as Agent Kelly's Assistant
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Critic Reviews for Road to Paloma

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (5)

An effective throwback to the loose-limbed, my-way-or-the-highway road movies of the "Easy Rider" era.

Full Review… | July 10, 2014
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

None of this is riveting, but the film's loose naturalism and strong acting - Chris Browning, as a liaison between the F.B.I. and the reservation, is especially enjoyable - are slyly seductive.

Full Review… | July 10, 2014
New York Times
Top Critic

Momoa makes much of it work through sheer force of will as Wolf, a chopper-riding Native American hunted by venal lawmen and seeking his mother's killer.

Full Review… | July 10, 2014
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Road To Paloma features perhaps the most motorcycle-riding footage of any actor-directed vanity project since The Brown Bunny.

Full Review… | July 10, 2014
AV Club
Top Critic

This film is numbingly dull, an outlaw-on-the-run saga as laconic and slow-moving as its fierce, hirsute protagonist.

Full Review… | July 8, 2014
Village Voice
Top Critic

Less a failure of competing or conflicting visions and more just a buffet of poorly executed meanderings.

Full Review… | August 16, 2014
Paste Magazine

Audience Reviews for Road to Paloma

Such a slow paced movie. Decent enough start to the movie but nothing really happened after that. Characters didn't make sense and the ending left much to be desired. Other than that it was swell.

Erik Dahlman
Erik Dahlman
½

"Road to Paloma" 10 Scale Rating: 7.0 (Good) ... The Good: Jason Momoa shows off his acting chops in this one. Usually seen as a gladiator/muscle-head type, Momoa does a very good job in a dramatic turn. Written and directed by Momoa himself, the story is a good one that gets your interest early on. Well known Native America actor Wes Studi plays Momoa's father in the film and while he doesn't have many scenes, they are memorable. Studi always seems to do an excellent job. The last 10 minutes or so of the film are powerful. The Bad: A little on the formulaic side, what truly prevents the film from being great are several lulls in the middle. It starts and ends well, but far too many of the scenes in between feel like filler. Some of the supporting actors/actresses were pretty bad.

DC Edmonds
DC Edmonds

One man, one bike, and a potential for some serious butt-kickery in the desert, so this is pretty much the closes we're going to get to "Mad Max: Fury [u]Road[/u]" for a while. Man, Redskins are brutal enough with horses and arrows, but if you put them on a motorcycle, then you've got the definitive bad 'Merican! More than it is for Americans, especially the Native ones, this film seems to be built for those bikers who have "MOM" tattooed on their arm, because this film explains to you why you never talk trash about a biker's mama, let alone kill her. No, really, this film is pretty much for any dude worth his salt, because we're talking about Conan the Barbarian/Khal Drogo on a motorcycle, so you know that this is going to be quite the killer adventure. ...Mind you, Jason Momoa once went on an adventure to Tibet and ended up studying Buddhism, but this time, again, he's working to avenge his mama, and by that, I mean he had already exacted the vengeance, and is now spending this whole movie driving around with some cat who looks like a combination of Jared Leto and T. J. Miller. This is more of an artistic endeavor for him, but there's been enough people questioning his acting ability, and here, he has guts to take on this project as lead actor, director, co-producer, co-writer... score composer, cinematographer, editor, art director, makeup designer, casting director, and caterer. Okay, he isn't quite Shane Carruth, although this film, I'm afraid to say, isn't substantially more exciting than "Upstream Color", despite some inspiration. This film is largely pretty quiet, but when it does utilize musicality, it utilizes a decent and somewhat diverse soundtrack that is particularly distinguished by both old-fashioned and pseudo-modernist blues, rock and folksy tastes that help in livening things up, just as an ambient score by Ohad Benchetrit and Justin Small, both of the Canadian experimental and post-rock band Do Make Say Think, captures the subtly gritty tastes of this surprisingly artsy affair. Compliments of this nature can also be directed towards co-producer and co-editor Brian Andrew Mendoza's cinematography, which doesn't have the money to be especially handsome, but has enough subtle grace to its emphasis on lighting to give the film a refreshing look, highlighted by golden hour shots that are often haunting, if overused. It gets to where this film seems to be more interested in its visual style than the substance, and yet, as misguided as the storytelling is, the subject matter that Jason Momoa tackles so messily is intriguing in concept, with elements of buddy road adventure and crime drama that carry some potential for depth as a character study. The storytelling is even misguided with its characterization, yet there is some hope for resonance, and it rests within a cast full of reasonably convincing performances, even one by Momoa, who doesn't do much, but brings his charisma to light enough to expose some potential as an actor. He even finds moments to showcase potential as a filmmaker, because even though his direction is uneven, even in his level of investment in the story he's telling, he has some inspired moments whose having worthy style and performers to work with result in distinct moments of resonance, no matter, how limited. At the very least, Momoa's direction boasts an ambition that is pretty charming, and although Momoa betrays this ambition too often than a decent film can handle, its occasions of fulfillment meet the charm and all but save the final product. Alas, the film cannot transcend mediocrity, having its moments, but just that: moments which go outweighed by missteps and even conventions. I can see where this film might be able to change up pace, but as a drama about some sort of road to redemption, this isn't really much of anything new, following the usual beat and path, and having the nerve to do so rather limply. From filler to gratuitous, maybe even self-indulgent road and sunset shots, there's a whole lot of nothing going on in this film, until the film loses a sense of progression that is not exactly helped when the narrative actually makes a shifts, or rather, jars. You can feel that Jason Momoa is not interested in the whole of this chase drama, for his storytelling awkwardly cuts between the lead and the people on his tail, due to its wasting so much time on the segments, or simply on expendable material, while neglecting to flesh out the depths of this potentially layered plot. With all my complaints about the dragging, the film is still extremely short, and it gets to be that way, despite all of its filler, at the expense of substance, specifically that of an expository nature, to where immediate background development is disregarded, while gradual exposition feels forced in the context of thin characterization. You don't really get that much feeling for the characters through all of the draggy intimacy, in spite of all of the worthy performances, and that's because the excess is all primarily for the sake of some sort of style. Momoa can't even keep consistent with that, jarringly alternating between delicately paced traditionalist storytelling and borderline abstract lyricism, which is questionably enough by its own right, because of its further retarding momentum, especially when backed by a quiet dryness that is initially bland, but gradually descends into dullness which takes over a good deal of the film, and ultimately extinguishes your investment. Although the film never soars, it rises and falls, and on the back of its latter acts, alone, it goes deep into the brink of genuine decency, but those subtle, if not glaring errors in storytelling end up going quite a distance in betraying a sense of adventure, a sense of intimacy, and, of course, the overall engagement value of this ambitious, but misguided drama just enough for the final product to succumb to mediocrity. When the trail runs almost as dry as the film itself, a decent soundtrack, handsome visual style, promising story concept, and highlights in convincing acting and thoughtful direction all but save the final product from a mediocrity that unfortunately thrives enough on conventions, aimlessness, unevenness, underdevelopments, and an inconsistent and often dull style to drive "Road to Paloma" just shy of decent as a misfire of an ambitious road drama. 2.25/5 - Mediocre

Cameron Johnson
Cameron Johnson

Super Reviewer

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