Where I Watched It: Netflix
Description Provided By: Deluxe
Narrated By: Jedidiah Barton
One of my favorite movies from the 90’s was Breakdown. It’s a rather underrated film where Kurt Russell and Kathleen Quinlan are on a road trip, their car… I’ll let you guess what happens to the car…. And they find themselves in this nightmare. Russell spends the whole movie trying to find his wife, and it seems like everyone is trying to gaslight him into believing she doesn’t exist. Most of these people are earthy, somewhat redneck, back woodsy types. Simple small town folk. Predominantly white. I’m mentioning this, because I’ve seen several critics comment that this film takes a very strong racial stance, as if we haven’t been making this film for decades.
I’m not sure when the first city folk travelled somewhere they werent suppose to, but whether it’s Burt Reynolds taking the wrong damn trip with his buddies, or Eliza Dushku and her Wrong Turn, this genre has existed and persisted for quite some time. The only thing that is different here is that the leads are black, but they are still being harassed by the same generic versions of what kind of redneck, white trash, militant, asshole we think live in the area in which no one should ever travel, which always seems to be a different part of the country whenever needed.
Mind you, white people have been the villains of this genre for years. I would have been incredibly surprised if in this cross country trip, they HADN’T run into this archetype. So, any critic trying to call this movie out for bringing race into this, or making it seem like we’re making fun of white people is just ignorant. Does this film have a racial slant to it? Sure. The protagonists this time around are entirely black. not just “token” black, like that one black friend, but an entire family. So, when they keep running into nothing but the same white people in every film ever like this, obviously their experience will be different.
This reality affects these characters and their choices. Whether or not they choose to engage, to trust, to walk into a room, every choice made is directly related to them not only being in peril, but also fish out of water. In this film, is perhaps that it is just exactly what you expect it to be.A competent action vehicle for Queen Latifah, who even in a non-action character, still kicks ass.
Some critics don’t know what to do with this film. It’s simple. The same thing we do with every other film. Review it, and grade it. Don’t just suddenly be off put because there’s some change to the story, and suddenly because the protagonist doesn’t look like you, you can no longer relate to the film, so it must be awful. This film is not awful. Considering the output that Netflix has had this year, it might be one of the best Netflix releases this year.
I watch films, and have always been captivated by them, so i can see stories in worlds that I don’t know, featuring characters who are not me, in situations that open up my mind and ask me to grow in some way. Even stupid comedies, and mindless action films can do some of this. End Of The Road delivers on the very promise it makes. Everyone else may act shocked like they haven’t seen anything like this before, but I think we’ve seen this film a hundred times before, it’s just that people aren’t used to seeing this with a black lead cast. And that should not be the factor that makes this a bad film for you.
Final Grade: B