Tuesday, May 18, 2010

"Trucker" (2008) - Movie Review

My colleague’s opinion on the reason for several divorces in US is that people are too selfish. This generation has that firmly rooted because the idea of being selfish has been legitimized and part of it is good. In the traditional old days, the expectations were set with laid out method that was proven to be successful. It indeed was until the eventuality of the human mind to break through the fallacy of this cage. The trend now seems to be spiking or more to the fact of being comfortable to that independence which results in more lonely hearts. The female trucker in “Trucker” is a prime example of it.

Michelle Monaghan is trucker Diane. Stopping for breaks and sex, she has a set life. A neighbour and a long time friend Runner (Nathan Fillion) to flirt with and punch around and an extended independence of doing whatever the heck she wants has been her way for the past several years. Past is the tattoo you do not notice it until the mirror is held closer. For Diane it comes through Peter (Jimmy Bennett), her 11 year old son she abandoned along with her ex-husband Leonard (Benjamin Bratt) ten years back. Leonard has colon cancer and Diane has no choice than to take care of him.

The forgotten sons and daughters with their estranged and unknown parents have been a treat for screenwriters for a long long time. In this version, the female lead comes as the regular drink with a twist. Monaghan peels off her charm, beauty and smoothness to be the hard earning truck driver. Even after all that, she appears too beautiful and elegant to be a truck driver. The toll of the physical labour will be so immense that taking care of themselves becomes a painful labour. Despite that, Monaghan is truthful to her Diane and treats her with toughness and respect.

Peter is adamant as any 11 year old and the added anger of abandoning mother makes him to be the tough kid. There is the usual ride along with the unusual job and then the text book method of losing the kid and panicking are staged. The discovery of each other and the good moments between mother and son are staged too. But writer/director James Mottern adds these supporting characters and they point out the flaws and adamance in Diane.

Runner is played by Nathan Fillion and he gives the nicest guy. He is the best buddy Diane could ask for while she keeps tagging him along forever. Runner is married and both him and Diane are waiting for the moment to happen. James Mottern shapes Diane’s character through that possible moment to push for a change she has denied all through her trucker life. Fillion’s Runner adores and loves Diane but we do not know why he wants to cheat with a wife we see once. Regardless he becomes the true friend to draw the final straw for Diane to turn around her life.

“Trucker” in the old and dusted independent tradition holds the values of being steady and calm. It does not amplify any of the scenes and avoids lot of obligations. At the same time he withdraws himself and becomes cautious. Being his debut, he appears to care for his film safe enough but not beyond it. He has written a screenplay of a potential performance from a female lead dutifully done by Michelle Monaghan and a subtle happy ending taking it home for independent feature. He gets all of it without the riffraff but he strikes himself without a lasting impression.

“Trucker” is a gentle film being a cautionary tale of the independence taken more seriously than one needs to. Some point in every one’s life the act of selflessness happens through a family. It begins with sharing their life with someone apart from them and then losing completely their soul, body and mind to their offsprings. To take that plunge and the rapidity at which it hits them is nothing short of rude awakening. Some stay hating their decision but eventually settling for the future they never planned, some accept it immediately and move on while others restrain themselves from running into that situation in first place or worst walking out with life long regret. Diane gets a chance to wash off that regret but before that she has to feel it.

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