One for the Road (Sundance 2021); Grade: B
Strictly Films welcomes you to coverage of this years Sundance Film Festival... Never in a million years would I have thought this would happen, but here we are! Our first film on the block: One for the Road!
One for the Road tells a story about a couple friends unexpectedly reuniting, due to the fact Aood (Ice Natara) is battling with cancer. Aood would like to meet with every ex girlfriend before departing, as he would like to make peace with each and everyone of them. Here lies a tale about admitting to ones wrong doings before it's too late and forgiveness.
The Cinematography was splendid, there are some very fun visuals in this film. I enjoyed the bartending sequences as despite them being a bit cheesy, it was honestly goofy in a good way as it looked pretty fun. One hallway shot I really enjoyed, there's also one colorful shot I enjoyed as well. Oh and the One for the Road shot at the end... I don't drink, but I would like to have a cranberry juice there, that place looked awesome! The Score was simple yet elegant, followed by limited nice soundtrack as well.
The cast all in all were solid as a whole, some of the English sequences could've been better, but in all fairness they've done a pretty swell job with line delivery and delivering emotional sequences when it mattered the most. Ice Natara playing Aood had a solid performance. I enjoyed the character Aood by how he was written, as he felt realistic as a man dealing with hardships on past love, while handling demons of his own including a big secret at hand. Sometimes characters like Aood are showcased to play as a sympathy card, where you honestly feel extremely bad because they’re ever so nice and can do no wrong. With this character it plays out differently, yes he's still a good guy however he's not flawless by any means, as I enjoyed the fact this character can feel relatable. Not sure who played Boss since it's not on IMDB, but the actor whom played Boss played a solid performance as well. I was surprised a great amount of depth was given to Boss, than being just a side character for Aood, he has his own storyline and it was refreshing to see a character like Boss being well developed in a story like this one, in which was mainly centered around Aood.
My major flaw with One for the Road is pacing and length... It can sometimes feel extremely long and over barring. It almost felt like a soap opera at times. Some questionable decision making here and there regarding tone, as it can feel a bit corny some despite it being a saddening drama.
The Sundance Film Festival starts off swell, as One for the Road t'was honestly enjoyable for what it is. The story itself t'was nice, as it does feel like a new twist is made for a story of it's caliber, regarding a friends last farewell wish before departing from this world. What I enjoy about One for the Road is the fact you can feel a mixture of emotions while watching. You feel happy at times, you feel sad at times, and you feel frustration. There are some valuable messages about forgiveness, letting things out and not holding them inside as it rots you inside, and how we don't really make the minutes of our time here count, till it's really the last minute of our lives. Sometimes it's best to really give it your all every single minute of the day, as you can't let any missed opportunities get in your way, as it can cost you big time. I also like the fact this film tries have fun. Despite my issues with the corniness nature of the film... I can't help the fact some of those sequences has a fair amount of charm to offer.
Overall, One for the Road is a solid film. I recommend checking this one out. - Mitch Smietana