A Beautifully Shot Journey
Beautifully shot and driven by a strong emotional core, Kodachrome is a film that explores the strained relationship between a Father and Son as they journey across America. A sublime performance from Ed Harris as father Ben is the stand out here and helped along by some slick cinematography. Although there are moments the film falls into generic tropes you’d expect from a drama like this, it’s easily forgivable given the great work done to flesh out the characters and present a realistically depicted journey of acceptance and healing between a Father and Son.
The story begins with Matt Ryder (Jason Sudeikis), a man on the brink of losing his job following a string of failed investments in the music industry. Approached at his desk by a woman named Zoe (Elizabeth Olsen) who happens to be his father’s nurse, Matt is told his father is dying; his final wish being to travel with his son to the last known place on Earth printing Kodachrome film. As they travel across the heart of America to Kansas, the fractured relationship between Matt and Ben takes centre stage before an emotionally charged but satisfying finale.
What’s particularly impressive with Kodachrome is the level of technicality put into shooting this film whilst keeping the simple story the focal point for much of the run time. From long, smooth cuts to cleverly worked shots making the background equally as important as the foreground, Kodachrome uses some clever camera tricks throughout its 105 minute run time. The minimalist instrumental soundtrack works well with the bites of rock at key moments during the narrative which really accentuate what’s happening on screen.
On top of the great technicality done shooting this film, where Kodachrome really shines is with its character work. Although Jason Sudeikis fails to hit the emotional highs needed late on to really showcase a man choked up, holding back his emotions, the cynical exchanges of dialogue between him and Ed Harris pack enough punch to really bring home the hatred between the two characters. The realistically crafted script is further helped by some smartly worked bites of awkward silence and numerous instances of dialogue overlapping with filler words. It’s a small touch but an impressive one helping to really accentuate the realism depicted in the dialogue.
Kodachrome’s story may be a little by-the-numbers with an admittedly predictable plot line and twists late on but ultimately it’s the emotional journey of the two lead characters where Kodachrome really shines. The literal car journey is simply used as a backdrop for the predominantly emotional journey of forgiveness and acceptance. In this respect Kodachrome works on a deep thematic level with some realistically depicted dialogue and slick cinematography to back it up. Kodachrome may not be the best film released this year, especially with how predictable the plot plays out late on, but it packs quite the emotional punch during its finale that makes the ride well worth taking.