Saturday, May 30, 2009

Away We Go

DAN - Away We Go is the newest film from acclaimed director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Revolutionary Road). The film opens on an unmarried couple, played by John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph, at the moment of discovering an unexpected pregnancy. The pair sets off on a cross-country trip with the hope of finding a place to start their new family.

I’ve always been pleasantly surprised by Mendes’ films. Road to Perdition has been one of my favorites since its release in 2002; I remember convincing my dad to let me see it, assuring him that I would be able to extract meaning beyond the violence. Mendes has a knack for examining relationships and the barriers that often tear them apart. Away We Go is a departure from the director's regular fare, and though it pains me to say so, I was disappointed.

This is Mendes’ least innovative film. It’s an amalgamation of the current trend of quirky indie movies that feel more hip than genuine. Mellow acoustic songs accompany people staring ahead with somber expressions hanging lazily over their eyes, as in any other film of the genre. I was sick of it before Juno, and I find it depressing to see an Oscar-caliber director follow suit.

Fortunately, a disappointment from Sam Mendes can still be a decent movie. Being a comedy, this film provides at least a few good laughs, including what might be the funniest line I’ve heard from a child.

Away We Go is ultimately a heartwarming film, but I’m personally tired of this style of filmmaking. Everything about this movie is so underplayed that I wonder how well it will be remembered in years to come. For now, this is a fun little film, but it could have (and should have) been something more.