We are all too familiar with the saying, “It was like watching a car crash…you didn’t want to watch, but you couldn’t look away.” Well, director/editor DMITRII KALASHNIKOV has done exactly that with THE ROAD MOVIE: taken dashcam footage from parts of Russia you might recognize, and some you probably didn’t even know existed, and hammered it all into a fascinating, at times frightening, but never less than riveting “shockumentary” about the ‘secret’ life of vehicles, and the citizens of the country who use – and at times, abuse them.
You will see episodes of literally every stripe: from the ‘mundane’ (two men haggle with a roadside prostitute over the prices of various sex acts), to the absolutely bizarre, (a parachutist narrowly misses landing in the middle of an active highway), to the completely horrific (several head-on collisions and rolls, where you can almost be sure that the passengers involved did not survive.)
The brilliance of Kalashnikov’s project lies in how it takes advantage of a habit that a lot of us have already integrated into our daily lives online. You’d probably say when someone tried to describe this film to you: “That’s STUPID! Who DA FUQ would sit still over an hour, and watch nothing but random dashcam footage?”
Who would? WE would. And we do. Friends, friends of friends and people we don’t know from Adam, send us stuff over Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms every day, and I mean EVERY. People falling, getting pranked, getting into street fights, running each other over at the malls during Black Friday (or any other day, for that matter). You name it, we’ve seen it, if we’re not already watching it. I could get into semantics about the differences between watching an hour’s worth of puppies and kittens videos, versus footage of car crashes and near-misses over the same stretch of time, but that’s another piece for another day.
In other words, THE ROAD MOVIE takes those clips you’re most likely to see on the net (and some of the ones here look very familiar), and instead of giving them to you in dribs and drabs, you get the whole damn thing in about an hour and ten minutes, which flies by before you’ve even realized it, just like when you’re engaging in your normal “lurking and surfing” activities.
If that’s not something you usually do, then I’d say skip it. Otherwise, THE ROAD MOVIE is a three-out-of-five star affair in my not-so-humble opinion, and if you get past the first few minutes of intentionally-placed “normal” footage, you might agree.