Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

Around the Bend

Genre: Drama
Rated: R

Released by: Warner Independent Pictures

In Short: Four generations of men try to sort out their past on an emotional journey that takes them onto the road. Twisted family members and turning plots make this a movie worth seeing.

Digging Up the Past
Four Men Explore the Road Less Traveled to Sort Out Their History
By Julie Fay

The Lair family is eccentric to say the least. Patriarch Henry (Michael Caine), a former archaeologist, is dying and trying to find the right burial ritual... mummification and being eaten by rats while his tribe dances around him are just some of the options. His estranged son Turner (Christopher Walken) hasn’t been seen for 30 years. Turner’s reputation as a junkie and thief haunts his offspring, Jason (Josh Lucas), who is trying to give his own child, six-year-old Zach (newcomer Jonah Bobo), a normal life even though Zach’s mother left them to go paint in Nepal.

Unexpectedly, Turner shows up, just in time for his father’s death. To fulfill Henry’s final wishes, the Lair men reluctantly embark on a road trip together. The breathtaking landscape of the southwest is their backdrop on a journey where family secrets are unearthed and relationships are mended. Writer/director Jordan Roberts keeps the story from being clichéd and sentimental—perhaps because the movie is inspired by his relationship with his own absent father. The film is infused with humorous moments such as funeral rituals at KFC, as well as bittersweet scenes where Jason struggles to understand and forgive his father.

Lucas has finally found his place as a lead dramatic actor. While he is seemingly the only rational man in the family, he’s in fact striving to maintain stability as he denies a deep-seeded anger. Bobo is charming without being precocious. As for Caine, his time on screen was short, but his presence was felt through to the end. While all the performances were excellent, Walken’s portrayal of a tormented father weighed down by tragedy and guilt stood out.

While dysfunctional families are nothing new to the big screen, the quirky moments and genuine relationships between these four men made this movie worth seeing.

The kinds of movies made for foodies, including classics such as Like Water for Chocolate and newer releases like Chef and Ratatouille.

Summer is here! Protect your skin from harmful UV rays all year round with GAYOT's Top 10 Sunscreens.