One For The Road

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Movie Review by Anita Kasonkomona

Starring: Hywel Bennett, Gregory Chisholm, Tony Claassen, Tim Cunningham, Mark Devenport

Director: Chris Cooke

ONE FOR THE ROAD is a film about the adverse effects of alcohol and drink driving. Jimmy, Richard, Mark and Paul are on probation because of drink driving and meet each other on a rehabilitation programme. Richard (Hywel Bennett) is a retired millionaire property developer while Jimmy (Greg Chisolm) is young, ambitious and urgently needs to sell his late father’s business. Mark (Mark Devenport) is a taxi driver who’s into drugs and philosophy and Paul (Rupert Procter) was salesman of the year three times in succession five years ago.

The plot is deceptively unsophisticated but intriguing. After introductions, they set off to the pub, ironically, to have a drink on their lunch break. Paul, Mark and Jimmy begin to plot how to lighten Richard of some of his wealth. Although this is the main storyline, the director Chris Cooke uses the sub-plot to project the impact that alcohol can have on the person or personality. When Jimmy falls for the barmaid Eve (Micaiah Dring) and it comes to the part where they have sex, it proves to be a bit of a problem as the alcohol has a adverse effect on his sexual libido.

The film has many humorous moments especially the scenes involving the therapist Ian (Johnny Phillips) who is also on probation for drink driving. He is extremely sarcastic and uses his sarcasm to good effect: “We fake it to make it.” This is when he uses role play to help the foursome realise the underlying psychological issues behind drink driving. He is not the typical beat about the bush kind of therapist, he gets straight to the point, which adds a lot more zest to the film.

The director cleverly builds up the tension in some scenes manipulating and also deluding the audience into thinking that the film is predictable when it is not. This is particularly poignant with the disappearance of Richard and his fate, which sets of panic and fools the audience as well as the characters. The director also ties in the beginning and ending of the movie very well; the beginning of the film shows you how it actually ends.

Shot on DV cam, the director has used the spontaneity and intimacy of the medium to create the feeling of a documentary. Although a low budget film, it has a lot to offer in terms of British talent and offers some relatively unknown actors an opportunity they might not otherwise have had.

5 out of 6 stars