Road to Nowhere (film)

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Road to Nowhere
Road to Nowhere film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMonte Hellman
Written bySteven Gaydos
Produced byMonte Hellman
Steven Gaydos
Melissa Hellman
StarringCliff De Young
Waylon Payne
Tygh Runyan
Shannyn Sossamon
Dominique Swain
John Diehl
Rob Kolar
Nic Paul
Fabio Testi
CinematographyJosep M. Civit
Edited byCéline Ameslon
Music byTom Russell
Production
company
Distributed byMonterey Media
Release dates
  • September 10, 2010 (2010-09-10) (VIF)
  • June 10, 2011 (2011-06-10) (New York)
Running time
121 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

Road to Nowhere is a 2010 American romance thriller independent film directed by Monte Hellman, written by Steven Gaydos, and starring Cliff De Young, Waylon Payne, Shannyn Sossamon, Tygh Runyan, and Dominique Swain. It was Hellman's first feature film in 21 years, as well as his final feature film before his death in April 2021.

Road to Nowhere was shot in western North Carolina from July to August 2009, before moving to Europe. The film premiered on September 10, 2010 at the 67th Venice International Film Festival and was nominated for the Golden Lion, but won Jury Award Special Lion for Career Achievement. The film was given a limited release in New York on June 10, 2011 and in Los Angeles on June 17, 2011.[1]

Plot[edit]

A promising young filmmaker named Mitchell Haven invites Laurel Graham, an unknown actress, to play Velma Duran, a person involved in a financial scandal that made headlines, in his new film. The director falls in love with his muse, and the sordid criminal affair on which the film is based resurfaces.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Road to Nowhere was Monte Hellman's first feature film in 21 years. The film was written by Variety executive editor Steven Gaydos.[3] Shannyn Sossamon was the first actor to be cast after Gaydos saw her in a restaurant rehearsing a scene with another person. Reluctantly, Gaydos gave Sossamon his card saying, "I don't do this often, but I wonder if you or your agent would contact Monte Hellman." Hellman told the Los Angeles Times that he dedicated the film to Laurie Bird, with whom Hellman fell in love while directing her in Two-Lane Blacktop.[4]

Filming[edit]

On a budget of under $5 million, principal photography was almost entirely in western North Carolina (where the film is also set) between July and August 2009. Hellman shot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II, which recorded 12 minutes at a time on a flash card (as opposed to 10 minutes with a 35mm film).[5] Scenes were shot at the Balsam Mountain Inn in Balsam for four to five weeks. Several other scenes were shot in the Boyd Mountain Log Cabins in Waynesville. Still other scenes were shot at Doc Holliday's bar in Maggie Valley, at the Fontana Dam, and at the Jackson County Airport. Students from University of North Carolina School of the Arts and Western Carolina University were hired as production assistants and also served as extras.[6] Other shooting locations were done in Los Angeles.[7]

Jim Rowell, a Cullowhee resident got a deal with the filmmakers that allowed him to make a fuel pump repair at the airport in exchange for flying his 1966 Piper Cherokee four-passenger plane as a stuntman. Rowell did eight to nine passes over the lake, flying 300 to 500 feet above the water. In post-production, film editors cut the shots back and forth of Rowell flying near the dam and the actual actor sitting in Rowell's plane pretending to fly in front of a green screen and crashing the plane into the Fontana Dam.[6] Natasha Senjanovic of The Hollywood Reporter called the plane crash one of "cinema's top plane crashes" and remarked that, "[it] is beautifully shot and comes as a total surprise".[8]

Hellman still needed to shoot some scenes in Europe, but was over budget. His daughter, co-producer Melissa Hellman, raised more money through private equity.[5] Hellman shot in the streets of London and traveled to Italy to shoot at Lake Garda.[7] Other scenes were shot in the church of San Pietro in Vincoli, and in front of Michelangelo's Moses and the tomb of Pope Julius II in Rome.[5]

Release[edit]

In January 2011, Monterey Media bought the United States distribution rights from Entertainment One.[7] The American Cinematheque at the Egyptian hosted a tribute to Hellman which culminated on May 14, 2011, with a special premiere screening of Road to Nowhere.[9] On June 8, 2011, the Film Society of Lincoln Center hosted an evening with Hellman, which included a special presentation of Road to Nowhere and a screening of Hellman's adaptation of Cockfighter.[10]

Festivals[edit]

Road to Nowhere was selected to screen at the following film festivals:

Limited theatrical run[edit]

Road to Nowhere was given a limited release in New York City on June 10, 2011 and in Los Angeles on June 17, 2011.[3][17] In New York the film opened in one theater and grossed $2,521 for its opening weekend. It grossed a total of $4,984 in its first week.[18] In Los Angeles the film opened in six theaters and grossed $6,051—$864 per theater for its opening weekend, a 140% increase in tickets.[19] In its third week it grossed $3,936—$984 per theater, a 35% decrease in ticket sales from the previous week. It was removed from three theaters.[20] In its fourth weekend, a four-day weekend, the film made $3,113—$778 per theater.[21] By its fifth weekend it was removed from two theaters and had a 67% percent drop in tickets making $846–$423 per theater.[22] By its sixth weekend the film was playing in three theaters making $877–$292 per theater.[23] For its seventh weekend, it gained $3,609—$722 per theater in five theaters, an increase of 247.4% from the previous weekend.[24]

The film grossed $83,496 in France and $37,829 in Portugal.[25][26] Road to Nowhere earned $40,294 in theatrical release in the United States and $121,325 in other markets, for a worldwide total of $161,619.[27]

Home media[edit]

Road to Nowhere was released to DVD and Blu-ray on August 23, 2011.[28] Features include a 15-min behind the scenes (making of the film) video and a 14-min Q&A with Hellman and Gaydos at the Nashville Film Festival.[29]

Critical reception[edit]

The film received mixed to positive reviews from critics, with many critics praising the performance of Shannyn Sossamon. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 79% of 24 critics have given the film a positive review, with an average of 6.7 out of 10.[30] Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from film critics, has a rating score of 59 based on 17 reviews.[31]

Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times wrote a positive review saying, "In its masterful use of evocative imagery and music, Road to Nowhere is flawless".[32] After an interview with Hellman, John Anderson from The New York Times said positive things about the film saying "Road may also be as significant to the indie feature as Avatar is to the popcorn movie".[5] Road to Nowhere was also included in Roger Corman's Legendary Films Blog.[33]

Nick Dawson wrote a positive review after it screened at South by Southwest Film Festival.[14] Lou Lumenick of the New York Post gave a negative review saying, "[Road to Nowhere] has a great setup but not much in the way of a payoff". He went on to say "While there are some giggles in the film-within-the-film, the artsy-fartsy direction and flat-as-a-pancake acting invites invidious comparisons to Mulholland Drive".[2] Roger Ebert gave the film two out of four stars criticizing the story's film within a film narrative. He said, "Road to Nowhere is not a failure in that it sets out to do exactly what it does, and does it. The question remains of why it should have been done. Hellman's skill is evident everywhere in precise framing and deliberate editing. Each scene works within itself on its own terms. But there is no whole here. I've rarely seen a narrative film that seemed so reluctant to flow. Nor perhaps one with a more accurate title".[34]

Awards[edit]

Festival Category Winner/Nominee Won
Venice International Film Festival Jury Award Special Lion for Career Achievement Monte Hellman Yes[12]
Palm Springs International Film Festival Maverick Award Monte Hellman Yes[35]
Whistler Film Festival Special Tribute for Lifetime Achievements Monte Hellman Yes[36]
Nashville Film Festival Coleman Sinking Creek Award Monte Hellman Yes[37]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "AFI: Road to Nowhere". AFI. Retrieved January 6, 2012.
  2. ^ a b Lumenick, Lou (June 10, 2011). "Road To Nowhere". New York Post. News Corporation. Archived from the original on December 1, 2011. Retrieved June 22, 2011.
  3. ^ a b Thomas, Kevin (May 14, 2011). "Monte Hellman's long and winding road". Los Angeles Times. p. 1. Archived from the original on May 20, 2011. Retrieved June 8, 2011.
  4. ^ Thomas, Kevin (May 14, 2011). "Monte Hellman's long and winding road". Los Angeles Times. p. 2. Archived from the original on May 20, 2011. Retrieved June 8, 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d Anderson, John (May 12, 2011). "Elder Statesman's New Story". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 4, 2011. Retrieved May 12, 2011.
  6. ^ a b Shrestha, Bibeka (August 5, 2009). "Indie film brings big economic boost: From stunt pilots to bar scenes, movie producer weaves local people and places into script". Smokey Mountain News. Archived from the original on September 28, 2011. Retrieved May 26, 2011.
  7. ^ a b c Loria, Daniel (January 13, 2011). "Monte Hellman's "Road to Nowhere" on its Way to a U.S. Release via monterey media". indieWire. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
  8. ^ Senjanovic, Natasha (October 15, 2010). "Road to Nowhere – Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Archived from the original on August 17, 2011. Retrieved June 22, 2011.
  9. ^ Logue Newth, Tom von (May 10, 2011). "Road to Nowhere". ScreenCrave.com. Archived from the original on October 8, 2011. Retrieved May 10, 2011.
  10. ^ "Road to Nowhere". Film Society of Lincoln Center. May 24, 2011. Archived from the original on July 22, 2011. Retrieved May 24, 2011.
  11. ^ Vlessing, Etan (December 1, 2010). "Whistler Film Festival Shines Spotlight on Filmmakers". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Archived from the original on December 5, 2010. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
  12. ^ a b Vivarelli, Nick (September 11, 2010). "Coppola's 'Somewhere' wins Golden Lion". Variety. Reed Business Information. Archived from the original on November 8, 2012. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
  13. ^ King, Susan (December 22, 2010). "Palm Springs film festival announces lineup". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
  14. ^ a b Dawson, Nick (March 13, 2011). "Road to Nowhere". Film Maker Magazine. Archived from the original on September 19, 2011. Retrieved March 13, 2011.
  15. ^ Koh, Michelle (March 17, 2009). "2011 Nashville Film Festival Announces Opening and Closing Films". indieWire. Archived from the original on July 27, 2011. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
  16. ^ "Road to Nowhere". Kviff.com. Archived from the original on September 30, 2011. Retrieved July 10, 2011.
  17. ^ "Film Release Chart 6/10/2011 – 7/1/2011". Variety. Reed Business Information. Archived from the original on August 25, 2010. Retrieved May 26, 2011.
  18. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for June 10–12, 2011". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com. June 13, 2011. Retrieved June 22, 2011.
  19. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for June 17–19, 2011". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com. June 20, 2011. Retrieved June 22, 2011.
  20. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for June 24–26, 2011". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com. June 27, 2011. Retrieved July 2, 2011.
  21. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for July 1–4, 2011". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com. July 5, 2011. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
  22. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for July 8–10, 2011". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com. July 11, 2011. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
  23. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for July 15–17, 2011". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com. July 18, 2011. Retrieved July 19, 2011.
  24. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for July 22–24, 2011". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com. July 25, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
  25. ^ "Road to Nowhere (2011) -France Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
  26. ^ "Road to Nowhere (2011) -Portugal Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
  27. ^ "Road to Nowhere (2011)". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com. Retrieved October 21, 2011.
  28. ^ "DVD and Blu-ray Releases for August 23rd, 2011". The-Numbers. Nash Information Services. August 23, 2011. Archived from the original on September 28, 2011. Retrieved October 21, 2011.
  29. ^ Foster, Tyler (August 23, 2011). "Monte Hellman's Road to Nowhere". DVD Talk. Internet Brands. Archived from the original on August 17, 2011. Retrieved October 21, 2011.
  30. ^ "Road to Nowhere (2011)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved October 21, 2011.
  31. ^ "Road to Nowhere Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 5, 2011.
  32. ^ Thomas, Kevin (June 17, 2011). "Movie review: 'Road to Nowhere'". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 9, 2012. Retrieved June 22, 2011.
  33. ^ Goodwin, Matthew David (January 19, 2011). "Road to Nowhere". Roger Corman's Legendary Films Blog. Archived from the original on August 12, 2011. Retrieved January 19, 2011.
  34. ^ Ebert, Roger (August 3, 2011). "Road To Nowhere (R)". Chicago Sun-Times. Sun-Times Media Group. Archived from the original on April 5, 2012. Retrieved October 21, 2011.
  35. ^ Savage, Sophia (December 22, 2010). "Palm Springs Int'l Film Fest Opens with Deneuve and Depardieu's Potiche, Closes with First Grader". indieWire. Archived from the original on October 6, 2011. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
  36. ^ "Snow in the alpine welcomes movie-goers as the 10th annual Whistler Film Festival offers a record number of premieres, not-to-be-missed parties and a tribute to iconic filmmakers". Whistler Canada. November 24, 2010. Archived from the original on August 21, 2011. Retrieved May 26, 2011.
  37. ^ "Kris Kristofferson to Receive 2011 Career Achievement Award at Nashville Film Festival Presented by Nissan". NashvilleFilmFestival.org. April 8, 2011. Archived from the original on April 21, 2011. Retrieved May 26, 2011.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]