REVIEW: Kodachrome (2018)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a review of Kodachrome — Directed by Mark Raso.

Kodachrome is a road trip drama film based on a New York Times-article. The film follows record executive Matt Ryder (played by Jason Sudeikis) who has fallen out of favor with his boss, but to keep his job Matt has promised his boss that he will manage to sign the band Spare Sevens, even though that is probably never happening.

That is, however, until Zoe Kern (played by Elizabeth Olsen) shows up at his office to tell him that his father, Benjamin (played by Ed Harris), is dying. Kern is Benjamin’s personal assistant, and she tells Matt that his father wants him to take a road trip with him to Kansas to develop some Kodachrome film.

Matt doesn’t really want to do it due to the fact that he and his father has a bad relationship due to the way that Benjamin treated Matt’s mother. But when Ben’s manager, Larry (played by Dennis Haysbert), tells him that he will arrange a meeting with the Spare Sevens on the trip, Matt’s hands are tied and he decides to take part in the road trip to save his job, while Zoe is desperate for Matt to accept his father back into his heart.

The major problem with a film like Kodachrome is the fact that we’ve all seen this story before, and, on top of that, we all know how it ends. Although competently made, Kodachrome is a painfully predictable film that doesn’t truly get past its average story and cliche moments seeing as it never veers from the path and never does anything unexpected.

With that having been said, Kodachrome actually is worth your while in spite of its tired plot. Because the caliber of acting in here is excellent. Elizabeth Olsen is very good, while Jason Sudeikis, of whom I am a big fan, goes as far as his dramatic talent allows him to make all of the facets of his damaged relationship with his father believable.

But Ed Harris is phenomenal here, and his performance is the one that really manages to make much more out of the tired plot that one may expect. Harris plays an unapologetically irritable character that sometimes acts like an obnoxious asshole, but the character doesn’t ever feel cartoonish, which I think he easily could’ve. His character is believable, and the film’s climax works because of the lengths that Harris goes to in his attempt to flesh out the character. I thought he was particularly great in a pivotal scene in which he seems to intentionally look away from his son in a scene in which he monologues.

Kodachrome is a good example of a film that has a predictable plot, but which due to some excellent performances is elevated to such an extent that you wind up getting something out of the film in spite of the unfortunate cliche story. Unfortunately, I think that it is one of those films that is so easy to predict that audiences won’t take a chance with it.

7.5 out of 10

– Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen

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