Justin Chambers’ latest independent film, Broken Roads, stars Aidan Bristow (Suspicion, The Talent, For All We Are) as Aldo, a teenage boy whose life is shattered when his mother dies in a car crash that leaves him critically injured. Aldo is sent to live with his only known relative, a grandmother he’s never known played by Golden Globe Winner and Academy Award Nominee Sally Kirkland (Anna, The Haunted, Bruce Almighty). Both Aldo and his grandmother, Wallace, carry the weight of regret and self-doubt on their shoulders making it difficult for them to connect and move past the issues that haunt them. As the movie unfolds, these two characters come together learning how to accept each other and forgive themselves in the process.
Broken Roads is a highly emotional film, and both Bristow and Kirkland give their all in their performances, Bristow more effectively in the last two thirds of the film than the first in my opinion. Bristow and Kirkland have a delightful chemistry that becomes more evident as the film goes on and are able to show a vulnerability that makes you become invested in their characters. I found the supporting cast impressive as well with Shoshana Bush (Fired Up!, Dance Flick, Complicity) being both a breath of fresh air and a real scene stealer as Aldo’s love interest, Madalyn.
Speaking of scene stealing, the beauty of the film itself really got my attention. Broken Roads is an extremely pretty movie. Chambers and his cinematographer truly utilized the splendor of the film’s rural Colorado setting, providing many expansive views of the gorgeous landscape in strikingly clear shots. The colors in the film are extremely vivid and a warm glow pervades the film’s outdoor shots, many of which reminded of baroque era paintings in their warm light and style.
The film’s plot is just as beautiful as it’s imagery, both in its moments of sadness and redemption. The themes of loss and acceptance are prevalent and Broken Roads does a fine job of taking us on the emotional journey of its main characters and delivering a satisfying resolution. That being said, the film is very long, over two hours, and might have benefited from a cutting a few of those beautiful shots mentioned above.
All in all Broken Roads is a successful film. I found it to be wonderfully written, skillfully acted, and beautifully shot. If you live in the New York Tri-State area, you can experience Broken Roads on the big screen in Philadelphia, PA on Jan 31st and New York, New York on February 19th (visit the Broken Roads site for theater details). Broken Roads will be available for viewing on Netflix starting February 19th and will also release the same day DVD.
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