Is there anything more depressing than the senseless death of a child? In the real world, perhaps not; in Reservation Road, plenty. For starters, it’s depressing to note that director Terry George elected to follow his powerful Hotel Rwanda with this simple-minded melodrama. It’s also depressing to note that this film largely wastes the talents of not one but two Best Supporting Actress Oscar winners, Jennifer Connelly and Mira Sorvino. And finally, it’s depressing when a strong premise is compromised by lazy plotting and cop-out resolutions. Based on John Burnham Schwartz’s novel (with Schwartz co-writing the screenplay with George), Reservation Road starts with a young boy being struck and killed by an SUV. The driver is the distracted but decent Dwight Arno (Mark Ruffalo), who panics after accidentally hitting the lad and flees from the scene. The victim’s dad is Ethan Learner (Joaquin Phoenix), who witnesses the tragedy firsthand but doesn’t get a good look at the driver. Dwight struggles with his overwhelming guilt while Dwight tries to console his grieving wife (Connelly) and their other child (Elle Fanning) — so far, so moving. But buying into the notion that every city outside of LA and NYC is the size of Mayberry, Reservation Road then takes a wrong turn by having Dwight’s ex-wife (Sorvino) coincidentally be the music instructor present at the boy’s funeral — and then grows even more absurd when Ethan turns to a law firm for help and gets assigned — God help the storytellers — Dwight as his counsel. It’s all downhill from here, as Ethan turns vigilante (when he sets off to purchase a gun, we half-expect him to bump into Jodie Foster on the way out) in order for the film to end as predictably as we feared it might.
Source:Connect Savannah Online