|Reviews & Columns|
TV on DVD
Reviews by Studio
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
DVD Talk Radio
The M.O.D. Squad
DVD Talk Forum
DVD Price Search|
Customer Service #'s
Hit the Road
Hit the Road begins as an organically hilarious road trip that centers on a family bickering as they travel to an unknown destination, and transitions into a heartbreaking drama about loss and missed opportunities.
Writer/director Panah Pahani so gracefully and lovingly transitions between the tones that every moment in a wide gamut of emotions that his film is going for is not only earned but is intrinsically vital to the narrative.
Here's a great film that doesn't play a single false note while trying to present a symphony with a three-piece orchestra. The charming meagerness of Panahi's scope, sticking pretty much entirely to the car ride that the family is going through, is what makes his story so immediately relatable.
Regardless of our culture and nationality, we have all been through family trips where the crazy and restless little brother (Rayan Sarlak) drives his half stoic, half playful father (Hasan Majuni) crazy, while the sometimes somber, sometimes full of life mother (Pantea Panahina) tries to break through to the introverted brother (Amin Simiar) who's annoyed with everyone else in the car.
The casting and directing for these four characters are so perfect, that there are moments that feel like Panahi has just turned the camera on a real family and we're just witnessing a day in their hectic but loving lives.
Panahi smartly uses the first half of his film to present as much of a universally relatable family as possible. As he gradually begins to reveal the nature of the road trip, some specific issues about the justice system in Iran begin to showcase themselves (After all, Panahi's father Jafar was condemned by the Iranian government to never make films again, not that this rule stopped him from making subversive works like Taxi and This is Not a Film).
Even with the film's deft commentary on its government, Panahi never loses sight of the love that's ingrained in this family, which makes some of his surrealist touches in the third act come across as a spiritual distillation of that love.
Hit the Road consists of docu-drama footage that follows the family like a fly on the wall, and extreme wide shots that emphasize the increasing isolation that the family feels as the road trip progresses. The 1080p transfer carries these beautiful nature shots with as much clarity and grace as the film's emotional tone carries. The stark digital photography is represented perfectly here.
The disc comes with two DTS-HD tracks, in 5.1 and 2.0. The surround track is perfect to take in the ambient sounds of nature that the family becomes more and more ingrained with, while the 2.0 track offers more of a balance between the dialogue and the various Iranian pop and folk songs that permeate the soundtrack.
We just get some Trailers.
Hit the Road begins as an affable and at times hilarious family road trip comedy and gradually settles the audience into an unexpected emotional gut punch. It tonally swings for the fences and comes out on top.
Oktay Ege Kozak is a film critic and screenwriter based in Portland, Oregon. He also writes for The Playlist, The Oregon Herald, and Beyazperde.com