The Road Within Blu-ray Review

     Actors: Robert Sheehan, Robert Patrick, Dev Patel, Zoë Kravitz
  • Director: Gren Wells
  • Format: Blu-ray, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • Release Date: July 7, 2015
  • Run Time: 102 minutes


             There is a delicate balance needed when creating a comedy that is also about mental illness. A certain amount of respect and realism must be given to the disease and those who actually suffer with it, but it can’t be so much that it weighs down the plot with cumbersome melodrama. All of this pressure seems to rest on the shoulders of the actors in The Road Within, which adopts the now-familiar road trip narrative so often used in independent cinema. With most of the film containing three characters in a car, the success of the story depends a great deal on the success of these actors.


            Robert Sheehan has the most difficult task playing Vincent, a grieving young man with Tourette’s Syndrome. After the death of his mother and primary caretaker, his estranged father (Robert Patrick) arranges for him to move into a facility for behavioral dysfunction. Paired with a confrontational roommate (Dev Patel) suffering from extreme Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Vincent’s only relief from the monotony of the facility is a rebellious young woman named Marie (Zoë Kravitz), who has a severe eating disorder. These three take an impromptu road trip after impulsively stealing the car of the facility’s compassionate head doctor (Kyra Sedgwick), escaping even though they are not kept against their own will.  


            The reason for the road trip is as derivative as a road trip in an indi film can be, with Vincent determined to scatter his mother’s ashes in the ocean. As the unlikely trio makes their way across country in a series of hijinks and small victories, they are pursued by the facility doctor and Vincent’s father. Much of this material has been seen dozens of times before, with only the portrayal of Tourette’s by Sheehan elevating the quality of filmmaking in the slightest. It is just unfortunate that nothing in the screenplay from first-time filmmaker Gren Wells lives up to the quality of the acting in the movie. This is paint-by-numbers storytelling, regardless of how vivid the colors are made by the quality of acting. Even the central relationship between Vincent and his father just plods towards a predictable resolution, never truly earning the emotional payoff.


            Although competently shot, there is nothing within this material that begs for a high definition presentation. The Blu-ray does have a handful of special features, though there is not enough separating it from the DVD release to justify an upgrade. Included are interviews with the cast and director, as well as a handful of deleted scenes and a music video by Oh Honey. There is also a trailer.  


    Entertainment Value: 5/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 6/10

    Historical Significance:  2/10

    Special Features: 5.5/10

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