I think at some point every kid in film school gets the idea to make a road trip movie. Whether it’s a drama, a thriller, a comedy, what have you, there is something really appealing about filming the ethereal quality of the road as it snakes through drastically different landscapes. The appeal of making a road trip film, however, is hard to transform into a film that will be appealing to watch. “Blue Road” has done just that.
The premise is simple: Nick and Kate have been friends for 10 years, but have been kept apart by distance and various other relationships. Now, they are going to meet and drive across the country together on a romantic journey that stirs up years of complicated history.
It seems like a little bit of a clichéd plot, but “Blue Road” has a way of manipulating the scenery of the West into creating the perfect mood for the piece. Likewise the almost constant soundtrack never falls into the indie-montage trap of most films of this nature. Instead, the repetitive harmonies emphasize and heighten but never impose.
Director Oliver Cukor spent a full year with his actors doing character work before the thirty-day film-shoot-road-trip began. This kind of dedication shows as all of the dialogue in the film is completely improvised. This creates a natural, realistic feel, without the usual stumbling around that we are used to seeing in improvised independent film. With this inclusion of improvisation, it is rare that any of the conversations sound forced (and since this is a road trip involving two people, conversations become very important). Quarrels between the two lovers arise organically as dialogue between the two progresses.
As a result, some of the more scripted scenes (or the scenes that have a clear purpose) come across as obviously scripted and meant solely for the audience. These scenes occur mostly at the beginning, so take it in stride, keep watching, and wait for the process to unfold.