Written and Directed by: Jon Cvack
Cast: Micah Parker, Laurence Fuller, Rosalie McIntire, Barak Hardley, Marshall R. Teague
Swift shot: An independent thriller about choices that we make and the consequences we face based on the company we keep and how it’s rarely ever as black and white as we would like to pretend.
Frank (Fuller) is by all outward appearances a very unhappy guy, he is stuck in a dead-end job where he really has no authority over anyone. He’s a kind of nutless nobody, that can’t even deal with the guy who is sticking it to his woman right under his nose. But as luck, or twisted fate, would have it, Frank is visited by an old friend who helps him clarify what life is all about.
Jack (Parker) is the typical drifter archetype, he doesn’t really have a place to call his own, and he just kind of moves from place to place, bedding whoever he likes and has no interest in being turned into his friend, Frank. But, circumstances arise that lead Jack to seek out his old college pal and help him sort some issues out.
On the night Frank learns about how his life is unraveling, Jack decides to take him out on the town and remind him he still has a pulse and a penis. Thing is, those two things get wrapped up in some dark dealings, and before the night is over, Frank is standing over a corpse and needs Jack to help him take care of the problem.
What drew me to this film was the idea of a friend needing the ultimate favor, and how the characters would interact dealing with that reality. But, what I got was actually much richer in content. There is a lot going on in Road to the Well, and I was never bored during the entire run time, even when they were just driving up to deal with the body.
In great writing there is always the “but then this happens” factor, where a story doesn’t just meander, shit happens. And Cvack certainly filled his screenplay with a lot of good bumps in the proverbial road. My favorite bump, without giving anything away, was the introduction of the fly in the ointment, one grouchy old Army Chaplain played with aplomb by Marshall R. Teague.
There are rich characters in Cvack’s script, but oddly Frank and Jack are an odd pair of friends, and I never really understood that they had any kind of bond throughout the film, not in the present, nor seemingly in the past. Their mutual friend Chris (Hardley) seemed to hate them both, but I think it led to a kind of authentic credibility to these people, as a lot times friendships don’t age well like some wines.
My biggest gripe with the film is that I didn’t like any of the main characters, not one. And when everything was concluded, I felt like there was still a lot more story left to tell. That isn’t always a bad thing, mind you, but I will let you draw your own conclusions if the story plays out to your satisfaction.
This is definitely one of those, “I wonder how I would have handled that” films, where you can’t completely take yourself out of the story. Because depending on the company you keep, you just might find yourself a victim of similar dark choices. If there is any message to draw out of Road to the Well, it is that, be wary of those you let into your life.