Title – Adopt a Highway (2019)
Director – Logan Marshall-Green (feature debut)
Cast – Ethan Hawke, Elaine Hendrix, Anne-Marie Johnson, Christopher Heyerdahl
Plot – Released from prison after a 21 year stint, Russell Millings (Hawke) discovers an abandoned baby in a dumpster behind the burger joint he works at, offering him an unexpected chance at redemption he could never have predicted.
“Sorry it took me so long to get here”
Review by Eddie on 24/08/2020
For his directional debut, well-liked if not particularly well-known actor Logan Marshall Green has gone down the independent redemptive route with his small-scale character study Adopt a Highway, a film that’s half explored ideas and frustrating inability to do more with its concept holds it back greatly from being the type of indie drama that will make its mark in a highly competitive marketplace.
Focussing on Ethan Hawke’s slow-witted and charisma free Russell Millings, an unfortunate soul born without an ounce of drive and only recently being set free from a 20-plus year prison stint for a seemingly minor string of drug offences, Highway has a core concept of redemption told in a new way as Millings finds an abandoned baby in a dumpster behind his workplace but Green’s inability to stick this plotline out in an engaging manner hampers the films chances of sticking its landing.
It was a huge win for Green and his tale to have locked in Hawke as Millings, as despite the characters frustrating inability to string much of sentence together or to make any rational normal decisions (perhaps born out of years of incarceration, perhaps not as the film never explains this to us) the always watchable actor gives Highway his all in what’s another impressive dramatic performance from the long-serving actor who continues to showcases consistently that he is at home in either Hollywood blockbusters or tiny films like this, a diverse skill not many possess.
With Hawke trying his best with little to work with, Highway remains watchable throughout but Green’s stoic and uninspired direction and a script that only really kicks into gear come the films more engaging and enjoyable final 10 – 15 minutes, Highway mostly remains a cold and only slightly enjoyable affair that really does squander its marketed and core concept.
Going into Highway you expect a fairly robust examination of what would happen if a man with nothing, no loved ones, no friends and no real idea all of a sudden found himself in charge of a living, breathing tiny human but despite brief moments where Highway seems be becoming the film you expected all along, Green chucks that idea straight out the window to take Highway down a path you never expected and one that pretty much is wasted minutes of Millings on a cross country bus trip that in the end amounts to very little.
Final Say –
There’s some great little human moments in Highway and a valiant attempt by Hawke to bring everything together but with an unengaging lead character and a real squandering of its core concept, Adopt a Highway is a frustrating first feature film attempt by Green that he can hopefully rectify in future endeavours.
2 mustard & mayonnaise sandwiches out of 5