Michael and Kevin Goetz helmed the psychological thriller film Scenic Route in 2013. Mitchell (Josh Duhamel) and Carter (Dan Fogler) are two best friends who embark on a scenic road trip at the beginning of the film. Two buddies are only trying to connect until things take a tragic turn.
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The film opens with Carter and Mitchell in an ancient, beat-up pickup, cruising the desolate desert highways with only the occasional camel or jackrabbit for company. The absence of any human or animal life for kilometers around is exactly what Carter was hoping for.
To spend some quality time with his best friend, who he feels has abandoned their shared childhood ambitions, he opted for the scenic route. Mitchell seems to have it all: a lovely wife and child, a magnificent dream home, a thriving business, and his boyish good looks.
Carter may be homeless and a failed author, but he hasn’t given up hope that Mitchell has given up on the only thing that has ever meant anything to him—his music—to follow the herd.
Carter admits he tinkered with the truck’s wiring so they could take a break and have a chat with a random bystander after the truck abruptly dies. Carter thought this would be the key to finally talking to Mitchell about all the bad things he’s doing.
Mitchell is already angry before he learns that Carter sabotaged the truck. A true automobile tear occurs and all hell breaks loose when Carter abruptly stops the vehicle once more in the middle of an argument.
After realizing that Carter was mostly correct about him, Mitchell decides to keep working on his writing career. Carter’s talent for reading people helped his writing, but Mitchell couldn’t handle the frequent tragedy in his novels.
The two buddies are heading down a path to a horrible ending, but they don’t know it yet. Mitchell and Carter have a long conversation about his life, including the fact that after four years of marriage and a child, Mitchell was no longer physically attracted to his wife.
He then elaborates on how he carried on an affair while away on business. Basically, Mitchell can’t get an erection because he can’t bear to look at his wife’s stretch-marked, twenty-pound-heavier physique, let alone deal with the burden of parenting.
Mitchell appeared to have it all on the surface, but he secretly agreed with Carter that all he wanted to do was rock a Mohawk and strum a guitar.
Soon after, Carter and Mitchell engage in yet another vicious dispute, during which they brutally beat one other to the point where Carter passes out. Mitchell panics assume Carter is dead and starts digging a grave.
Naturally, Carter starts to lose it a little when he wakes up and is able to sit up and realize that he is lying next to a freshly dug grave. Especially considering his last words to Mitchell were “I’m going to inform my wife about the affair,” leading Mitchell to believe he is trying to kill him to prevent him from spilling the beans.
These two once-close friends have turned on one other, and their survival in the harsh desert environment is now in jeopardy. It’s implied in the end that the two walked until they found a rundown spot with water and a place where their broken cell phone could still make calls.
After that, we see glimpses of a life in which Carter moves in with Mitchell to begin writing his book, and Mitchell leaves his job to pursue music full-time. The thought that they somehow avoided certain death and that everything turned out wonderfully crosses your mind for a split second.
Mitchell initially thinks everything is great, but as memories of the desert flash before his eyes, he begins to suspect that he and his companion are both laying in the pit, on their deathbeds. You wonder if they made it or if they all perished in the desert from fighting for nothing.
Scenic Route is a wonderful film with excellent performances, a heartfelt plot, and stunning scenery. Check out Scenic Route today if you’ve ever felt like you’re taking your life for granted and putting off your aspirations.
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Enjoyable viewing awaits you on Netflix with the release of Scenic Route.
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