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quietearth [Celluloid 05.21.08] movie review drama

Year: 2007
Release date: Unknown
Director: M.A. Littler
Writer: M.A. Littler
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: quietearth
Rating: 7.5 out of 10

The Road to Nod makes no qualms about where it gets it's title; straight out of the Bible. Cain was banished to Nod after killing his brother Abel where he was forced to wander the land forever. This is precisely what the story's about, from the moment our main character Parish gets out of jail and goes to see his old associates, right up until the end. The story is concise and completely unadorned with any of the frills found in normal films and it's shot in stunning high contrast black and white. In fact, it reminds me of the works of Jim Jarmusch, more notably his earlier stuff, and I wonder if this is where the director took his cue from.

The beginning is laden with shots of tall walls and barbwire surrounding a prison, and bluegrass with a coarse old black singer playing alongside. Parish is lying on his bed playing with a musical box, looking like an aged Macaulay Culkin with a beard. A guard shows up to open the door speaking in what I think is German, and Parish is now on the street. He goes to visit an old associate, apparently part of the "crew" he was working with before. As I mentioned before, the work is heavily Jarmusch laden, so much so that you can see something which Jim liked to show, a person's normal awkwardness. Throughout, the camera work is highly polished, the characters themselves are believable and understated, in fact I don't recognize a face in the entire bunch.

Parish meets with the old ringleader, the "Reverend" as they call him. Apparently the rev was on his way to become a priest before his father died and he took over the family business. From here he witnesses the Reverend's execution at the hand of a rival gang and has to go on the run, fulfilling the wandering clause indicated in the title. Along the way he meets several different characters in his search for help, all part of the underground world he inhabits. He is able to finally get some answers, but this doesn't help his situation.

The film ends at what seems like a brief 89 minutes, but it's worth every second. The photography is mainly stationary camera work, alternately slowly tracking some character or thing, but it never gets complicated. The bluegrass music appears infrequently throughout, but it does not set the mood or tone for any of the scenes, this is left between the screen and the viewer. The whole package is well written, full of character stories, and the dialog is amusing, alternately peppered with the most subtle of dry humor. At one point, Parish's associate says of someone "He's a deaf mute" after gesticulating wildly. Parish asks "Oh you learned sign language?" His associate responds flatly "No".

I have to say this film is superb, but I don't think it will have a very wide appeal. Those who love Jarmusch, the arthouse crowd, and cinephiles will take pleasure in the films soft sympathetic portrayal of a moralistic gangster life, but others might not understand the great gaps of silence. To end with, I HIGHLY recommend this film, it is a solid piece of work and the director, M.A. Littler, clearly has a good future ahead of him, and furthermore I don't understand why this has gotten more attention as it certainly deserves it.

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Cybehal (14 years ago) Reply

any word on release?


quietearth (14 years ago) Reply

I'm waiting to hear back from the director, hopefully he'll have good news.


Cyberhal (14 years ago) Reply

I want to see this. it takes a brave filmmaker to strip things down. I like Lars von Trier when he does that.


IbogAbel (10 years ago) Reply



quietearth (14 years ago) Reply

The Road to Nod is still seeking distribution, someone help them for God's sake!

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