Forget beer, beatings and ball-scratches, - writer/director Jordan Roberts' debut delves into the anti-Fight Club side of male empowerment, where catharsis comes drenched in tears rather than sweat.
Jason Lair (Josh Lucas) is depressed. Recently separated and caring for his six-year-old son (Jonah Bobo) and soon-to-be-dead granddad Henry (Michael Caine), he's further strained by the sudden appearance of his long-estranged dad Turner (a superior Christopher Walken). Henry's will imposes a funeral roadtrip on the remaining Lair men - with ashes and memories being scattered at oh-so- significant junctures.
Mawkishness lurks and the ridiculous KFC product placement must have been a budgetary necessity, but Around The Bend is comparable with You Can Count On Me and The Straight Story. It's a lo-fi dissection of a fragile family, enlivened by sunset-draped desert vistas and vulnerable, New Man performances.
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