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Friday, May 19, 2017

ON THE ROAD, SOMEWHERE -- DVD Review by Porfle

Three boys graduate from high school and into real life in the pleasantly diverting road-trip story ON THE ROAD, SOMEWHERE, aka "Algún lugar" (2015).  That is, they think a lot about "real life" and what they're going to do with theirs. 

Oliver (Arnold Martínez) initiates the journey because he wants to travel to where his girlfriend Veronica is visiting her grandmother before moving to the United States.  The plan is to get there in time to say goodbye and spend one last bittersweet evening with her.

His friends Moises and Hemingway come along for the fun.  Moises (Javier Grullón) wants to be a photographer so he looks forward to getting some great shots during their trip through the countryside. Hemingway (Victor Alfonso) aspires to be a writer and wants to record their story in colorful prose.

Setting off in Oliver's broken-down station wagon, they criss-cross the Dominican Republic in a slice-of-life kind of adventure that's so low-key and true-to-life that, for awhile, it seems as though not much is really happening. 

They cut up, enjoy the view (the film is very picturesque), snap photos, and meet interesting people.  Their conversations never get much deeper than the ones any of us had at that age, although they do have their pensive moments in which the future seems like a dense fog of uncertainty.

Complications arise, not through tortured plot twists but from the expected everyday stuff.  There's engine trouble, of course, and the boys find themselves hitchhiking or taking public transportation from town to town, bringing them into contact with people both friendly and hostile.

Inevitably, relations between the boys themselves become strained as their circumstances become more difficult.  Beneath such tensions is the growing fear that they'll never realize their potential and their lives won't ever go anywhere.

All of this, however, is presented in such a natural way, devoid of the usual melodrama and contrived situations or dialogue, that I found myself getting caught up in it all and rooting for them to make it to where they were going.  (I mean that both literally and, like, symbolically.)

Director Guillermo Zouain and his co-scripter Wendy Muniz have a knack for an easygoing kind of realism that gently holds our attention even during the scenes when watching the road trip starts to feel like being on a road trip. 

Zouain also has a good eye for choosing pleasing shots, just as Moises aspires to do.  The film is consistently easy to look at, and clearly the work of someone with an artist's taste and sensibilities. 

The DVD from Indiepix Films is in widescreen, Spanish language with English subtitles.  Extras consist of a teaser and a trailer.  Running time is a short-but-sweet 71 minutes.

Not exactly the sort of party-time viewing that some road trip flicks are, ON THE ROAD, SOMEWHERE is best watched while in the kind of pensive mood that strikes our heroes when they realize that they have their whole scary, uncertain lives ahead of them.  We don't exactly see them "come of age" here--instead, we witness them beginning to realize that, sooner or later, they're going to have to.

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