FEATURE FILM REVIEW
After the sudden death of a passenger enjoying a pleasant day trip, the bus driver begins to suspect that someone on board knows more than they are saying.
YOUR GUESS IS AS good as mine, or anyone else's, in this who-done-it style of mystery. "When bad shit happens, it's the worst possible thing that can happen. When good things happen, your whole world changes and can't possibly get any better." It's all about perspective. Well, believe me when I tell you, you'll find plenty within this bus-driven tour that takes multiple twists and turns of mischief.
... YOU MIGHT FEEL LIKE IT'S A COMEDY OF SORTS, ALBEIT A DARK ONE.
I have always been the first to admit that I'm not exactly the brightest crayon in the box…in fact, I oddly embrace that. I don't expect to always 'get' everything that someone creates, and I believe there's always an interpretive element to create art that could very well be beyond me. Where some folks will get frustrated about that, I find a bizarre level of enjoyment about how things can escape me; I don't always need to understand every minute detail to enjoy something thoroughly. I felt that way about "Coast Road" as the bus sped along its path through the winding roads of Ireland – it's a mystery, so we're not always supposed to know what's going on, but at times, I was downright lost on this tour. Does that get me down? Heck no! As long as I'm interested, which I was, it simply means that it's usually something well worth watching twice – which I did with "Coast Road." I absolutely loved the ominous way the narration works, and I felt like this whole story was worth telling, even if I might not have been able to quite get everything to add up by the time it was all over.
Ultimately, we all get something different from the things we choose to watch. For me, a lot of the reasons why I enjoyed "Coast Road" as much as I did, weren't born out of understanding it all – it was more of the creepy feeling this journey takes you on. At points, you might not even be sure it's actually supposed to be a mystery – you might feel like it's a comedy of sorts, albeit a dark one – but I felt like that worked to the film's advantage in terms of its versatility. No matter how much you might chuckle or laugh for a moment, it's like there's a black cloud always following the bus. Beyond all things, I really loved how into it this whole cast was; the dialogue is brilliantly natural, and each member of the cast felt like they treated every line of this movie like they'd genuinely written it themselves. There are pauses; there are moments when some of them search their minds for that next thing to say; there are elements of our genuine humanity on display, which gave this film an astounding fluidity that kept me watching intently. The narration itself was phenomenal and one of my favorite parts of this movie, too – it was the perfect way to tie everything together and add even more detail to this story.
... EVERY ACTOR ON THIS SET WAS INVESTED IN THEIR CHARACTER, AND AS A RESULT, SO ARE WE.
The scenery of Ireland speaks volumes on its own behalf, it's spectacularly beautiful, and you feel like you're lucky enough to be on the bus with the characters onscreen, innocently along for the ride like they are. Or so it would seem anyhow – as the film progresses, the story takes a massive detour into a malevolent twist that will keep you wondering just how random this group actually is or if they were all on the bus for a more tangible purpose that might not be nearly as innocent as many characters realize.
I enjoy movies and films that are largely based on characters and dialogue as their primary vehicle, and that's what you get on this bus ride. Credit to the writers Brian Stynes and Michael O'Dowd – not only did they write a heck of a script, but they also found a fantastic ensemble that brought every word to life, even if death itself played a pivotal plot point along this adventure. Stynes also takes on the directorial role, which I thought he did a great job of, even if it might not be the most demanding film to shoot or be a part of at the end of the day. I think he was blessed by finding the right cast when it comes right down to it – every actor on this set was invested in their character, and as a result, so are we.
... THE STORYTELLING IS SUPERB, THE CHARACTERS ARE EXCELLENT IN THEIR ROLES, AND THE DIALOGUE REIGNS SUPREME.
All things said and done, "Coast Road" makes sense, and it does get to where it's going – you might not be able to see every twist and turn coming atcha, but that's kind of the way life (and death!) works. Like I was saying, it's a movie that really makes us feel like we're every bit as much along for the ride as the characters onscreen are, and it's because of that, that we all arrive at the final conclusion and destination of the plot together at the same time. I think real mystery lovers will genuinely appreciate that. I'm going with a strong three-star rating for "Coast Road," and I think there's an argument to be made on behalf of it being even stronger for the more savvy minds out there that love a good mystery. There's much more to this story than meets the eye - that much I can tell you for sure. The storytelling is superb, the characters are excellent in their roles, and the dialogue reigns supreme as "Coast Road" navigates us through a twisted tale that'll keep you guessing - and concerned about your next vacation.
Coast Road Trailer3.mp4 from Brian Stynes on Vimeo.
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