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By Brad Wilke | August 30, 2010

A.D. Calvo’s “The Other Side of the Tracks” opens with a lot of train imagery, including a foreboding flashback to an accident involving a…you guessed it: train. Then we meet Josh (Brendan Fehr), who happens to be walking along the train tracks, on his way to a dead-end job at the local pizza parlor (which is housed inside an old railroad car). During his shift, Josh is unexpectedly reunited with an old high-school friend, Rusty (Chad Lindberg), with whom he has fallen out of touch with since graduation. Josh is surprised to see him, but eventually the two fall back into the rhythms of their youth. At first, Josh seems a bit uneasy about his old friend’s overwhelming enthusiasm for the two of them to rekindle their friendship, but Josh goes along with it and the two seem to get along well, considering the ten-year absence they have to initially overcome.

Enter Amelia (Tania Raymonde, from television’s “Lost”), who has just been hired as a waitress at the pizza joint and reminds Josh of “someone he used to know.” Following Amelia’s arrival, Josh becomes even more withdrawn and seems unable to conduct even the most simple interactions with friends and family. And then comes the pizza-making scene…

During this scene, the audience becomes fully aware (if they hadn’t caught any of the many hints dropped earlier in the film) of the central conceit of the film. And if you didn’t catch it the third time, the filmmakers take great pains to hammer it home over the course of the second act. Not only do they show their hand, but they continue to reveal it with techniques that feel like sledgehammers to the audience’s collective head (including the repeated use of on-the-nose musical tags).

Brendan Fehr does a passable job in the lead role, but is no match for Chad Lindberg, who manages to dominate any scene in which he appears. The rest of the cast does a good job with the material they have to work with, but the script really doesn’t do them any favors. By the time the film arrives at its inevitable conclusion, it actually becomes difficult to watch because you just want them to get to the flashback that confirms what you know they have been building up to all along.

I adhere to a strict rule of trying not to stay one step ahead of a movie, as I actually enjoy being surprised once in a while. If it’s worth anything to a potential viewer, this was the first time in recent memory that it was impossible for me to stick to my rule because the film insisted on telegraphing, reminding and repeating itself to its audience to such a degree that it nearly ruined the viewing experience for me.

Editorial Note: According to the writer-director, this review is supposedly of a pre-release early cut of the film, in case you were wondering.

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  1. Kathy says:

    I loved this movie , but I don’t think it’s what everyone thinks it is. I had to watch it three times to understand it. Amelia is not Emily and Rusty explains this . Also at the end of the movie it’s explained who Rusty is driving around in his car . josh is a complicated character mourning his girlfriend trapped somewhere . We hear if Emily but Amelia is not Emily and Rusty gives this away when he spies Amelia and makes a very direct statement about her . Amelia asks Rusty does he know about us and Rusty say no and he won’t it would kill him
    The end kinda sees it all together . But the question is who is Amelia and I don’t think she is good

  2. ivan reniell says:

    I saw a similar movie in the TV a few years ago (20 years may be). A
    beautiful long black hair lady who was married to an uncaring husband,
    he was a businessman and seldom spent time with her. When he came home
    he always drunk and beat her quite often. She was killed by her husband
    and buried in the basement covered with a wall. The scene that I remember
    till now was that she became a ghost and one day she was in the bathroom
    taking a bath with candle lights placed around the bathtub. The music
    was great. I don’t remember the title of the movie. Anyone know the
    title? It’s not “somewhere in time”.

  3. nicole says:

    Just saw the movie on showtime and I loved it. The story reminds me of a time of my life when I tragically lost the love of my life. The movie gave me peace.

  4. Ray Westphal says:

    I watched it many times and caught something new each time. Loved the movie! The song Plastic soul is my favorite song.

  5. thruby says:

    Saw this movie on HBO last night and thought it was a wonderful movie. I’d have to assume that either the reviewer either missed the finer elements of the movie or did indeed see a rough cut of it. The cinematography was stunning and I’m still puzzling over certain aspects of the movie a day later. It’s a movie that I would definitely recommend.

  6. sgreene1704 says:

    Just saw this on Showtime. Good flick. 3.5 stars out of 5.

  7. michael8983 says:

    I’ve seen it – this movie deserves recognition, it’s great. I mentioned this on IMDb a couple years back. Glad to see this finally getting out there. I first saw this film at the Indie Film Jam in Orlando, Florida. Unfortunately, this sad commentary in no way reflects the film which is quite extraordinary. The reviewer doesn’t do it justice. The film mixes so many different genres from drama to romance to horror (yes, it has horror elements) to mystery. Brenden Fehr, a favorite actor of mine who I admit is what drew my attention to this movie in the first place, gave his best performance yet.

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