Kodachrome Review

In death, there is salvation for the estranged fathers and miserable sons who try and follow in their faded footsteps. Kodachrome utilises this process well, with its difficult relationship between a father and son slowly mended in the final days of the father’s life. Ed Harris and Jason Sudeikis’ pairing on-screen from director Mark Raso finds the pair playing characters who, for one reason or another, are at the end of their respective roads. One is, quite literally at the end of his, taking the final days of his life as best he can. The other has nearly been dropped by the job that held him for a decade, his ears no longer helping his music career. What a pairing for a road trip. 

But Raso at least bypasses the glumness of the trip with great chemistry and exceptional performances. Sudeikis’ work here is phenomenal. He plays that unmotivated, angry son so well, the pressures of his job and the anxiety of meeting his estranged father make for an excellent pairing of emotions. Roles like this are plentiful for comedians looking to turn their craft into something a little more serious, while at the same time retaining the charming light-heartedness, they have inherited to them. Sudeikis is in pole position, pulling himself far away from the We’re the Millers style of work and into something far deeper and definitely more rewarding. His early scenes shared with Elizabeth Olsen are filler to build up the distance between father and son, but they are engaging in their own way. 

Where the real charm and story strengths are is in the relationship between Benjamin (Harris) and Matt Ryder (Sudeikis). They are the inevitable angry souls shouting at one another. It is just to thaw the ice, and eventually, inevitably, they come together with amiability and love. Their ulterior motives for the trip give them the problems and promise of crossed wires, and that is where Raso falls apart somewhat. There are shots within, of cars reflected in mirrors where the protagonist waits, that look great but mean nothing. This fallout of father and son is fixed a little too quickly. At the start of this road trip, everyone is already rather chummy. Those fallible moments of a father and son falling into their routine once again are present, steered rather obviously by Olsen’s supporting performance. 

But we have no time to lose on the road to redemption. When happiness is the goal, it needs to be earned. Kodachrome is too eager to get to that satisfying conclusion, so much so that the arguments that crop up later on feel rather frivolous. We know where this story is to go, but Raso gives up the gambit far too early, showcasing what he wishes the audience to think and feel almost immediately. Strong performances cannot hold back the tide of predictable storytelling. This is not a new story, and the ending is known far before this road trip is over, but it is the journey we take with these characters that matter most. Raso is too eager to end it, though, and these characters, while nice, are not well developed. Kodachrome may fixate itself on a dying man wishing to develop photos, but Raso cannot develop his characters beyond nice and forgettable. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s