Indie Review: ‘Road to The Well’ a Crafty Noir With Echoes of Early Coen Brothers

Acting
Directing
Storytelling
- Advertisement -

Road to The Well is a small neo-noir from writer/director Jon Cvak, and a deliciously mean-spirited thriller in the vein of the Coen Brothers’ debut film, Blood Simple. It doesn’t have the leanness or the near perfection of that film (and it isn’t simply some knock off), but despite its flaws, Road to The Well is a sure sign of new talent in the world of bare-bones indie filmmaking.

Frank (Laurence Fisher) is an office drone of a shapeless business who barely hides the disdain for his job beneath a facade of percolating frustration. His boss, Tom, wants him to take a project “up north” for the company despite the fact he wants nothing to do with the gig. His home life isn’t much better, especially when he finds his girlfriend with Tom in a compromising position at an office party.

One night, about the time Frank’s life is being upended, an old friend named Jack (Micah Parker) turns up and the two head out to the bar. Jack has decided to become a drifter in recent years, happy to bounce from place to place and live life as a nomad. It is free-spirited Jack who entices Frank to go talk to the girl sitting up at the bar. Nothing seems quite right, which is the modus operandi for the entire film.

Frank and the girl hit it off a little too quickly and before long wind up in the backseat of his car; without spoiling anything else, a crime is committed, and Frank and Jack must dispose of a body. That’s the simplest way to set up Road to The Well; there are plenty more details and developments which led these two men to this precarious situation, and the bulk of the film involves Frank and Jack finding a place to bury their corpse, running into old friends and making new, very strange, very dangerous ones along the way.

- Advertisement -

Cvak’s screenplay and direction is terrific in its ability to create mood, develop a sense of dread, and keep the performances and individual scenes consistently bizarre and uneasy. Even when all sense of logic sometimes abandons the film – certain sections feel disjointed or seem to be missing important pieces of information – the dedication to tone keeps the story from spinning out of control. Like when Frank and Jack visit another old friend, sneak their way onto some land he owns to hopefully bury the body, and have a wacko encounter with the nosy neighbor, a retired Army vet (Marshall R. Teague) intent on killing himself. The whole segment is completely detached from the central plot, but its also captivating and weird and a masterful bit of self-contained storytelling. It works, and works well, again blending elements of the Coen Brothers with a Lynchian sense of off kilter madness.

The revelation near the end can be seen from the beginning of the film, but the performances – especially from Fisher and Micah Parker, who channels a young and sinister Benicio del Toro at times – keep even the more obvious plot developments interesting. Although certain moments in the story are telegraphed, this screenplay is honest and sharp.

Road to The Well is a curious picture told with real confidence, an artistic eye for detail, and some impressive, painterly composition from cinematographer Tim Davis. The Coen influence is heavy, but there are (visually) elements of Shane Carruth’s uber low-budget thriller Primer here, and ample stylistic references to David Lynch seeping through the screen. It’s worth seeking out (it’s available on iTunes, Amazon, DVD, Vudu, Google Play, Xbox and Playstation), and it’s probably a good idea to keep the the name Jon Cvak in your memory banks.

Save 50% on graphic novels, statues & more!

TRENDING THIS WEEK

Review: The Cavalry Arrives In ABSOLUTE CARNAGE #3

Absolute Carnage #3 continues the series’ exceptional start and the whole team continues to impress

G.I. JOE #1 Is a Joe-Tastic Start For New Readers

This Wednesday the action-packed first issue of IDW's newly rebooted G.I. Joe releases, where everyone can be a Joe, even you! The G.I. Joe comic...

Review: SUPERGIRL #34 Crashing Back To Earth In Style

This is a return to form in Supergirl #34 from DC Comics, with a creative team who are comfortable working together. Back to Earth and back to basics.

Review: Depression’s Effects On Relationships Explored In MIDDLEWEST #11

MIDDLEWEST's angsty protagonist Abel is on a mission to find a way to deal with the uncontrollable power inside of him. Led into The...

Meet The Next Guardians Of The Galaxy In BLACK PANTHER AND THE AGENTS OF WAKANDA #1

You might not know a lot about the Agents of Wakanda right now but it’s only a matter of time before some of them become breakout stars. 

AfterShock Exclusive Preview: DARK ARK: AFTER THE FLOOD #1

Dark Ark: After The Flood #1 kicks off the Halloween season on October 2, but thanks to AfterShock Comics, Monkeys Fighting Robots has a...

Review: YOU ARE OBSOLETE #1 – A Leisurely Stroll Through Secluded Hell

The children are smart, clever, and are creepy as @#$% in You Are Obsolete #1, out this week from Aftershock. You Are Obsolete #1 is...

Interview: BRYAN EDWARD HILL Talks About The Vampire With A Soul

Bryan Edward Hill talks about his Angel run for BOOM! Studios and his intentions on pushing the narrative in exciting and surprising ways.
Avatar
Larry Taylor - Managing Editor
Larry is the managing editor for Monkeys Fighting Robots. The Dalai Lama once told him when he dies he will receive total consciousness. So he's got that going for him... Which is nice.

SPONSORS

If you want your BUSINESS to be part of something bigger than itself, you might be a good fit to partner with Monkeys Fighting Robots.

Indie Review: 'Road to The Well' a Crafty Noir With Echoes of Early Coen Brothers 3

CONTACT US

Indie Review: 'Road to The Well' a Crafty Noir With Echoes of Early Coen Brothers 4

Are you a creator looking for a review of your book?
Use the form below to end us a message.

Are you a fan of the website and have a comment, question, or concern? Drop us a line, and we will gladly answer all your questions.

JOIN THE TEAM

Monkeys Fighting Robots is looking for passionate writers to drive the site’s coverage of the comic book industry. Authors will be responsible for a particular niche, providing reviews, opinion and news coverage, while building a reader community using his or her multimedia storytelling skills. The best candidates have solid writing skills, WordPress knowledge, and are engaged on social media. Do you love comic books and have a strong opinion, then we would like to speak with you.

Indie Review: 'Road to The Well' a Crafty Noir With Echoes of Early Coen Brothers 5

MEET THE TEAM

COMIC REVIEW DIGEST, sign up today! At Monkeys Fighting Robots, we strive to talk about ALL aspects of a comic book, instead of just giving you a recap of the story.
  • Did you notice how epic the colors were?
  • That was a wicked panel layout by the artist!
  • What was the letterer thinking?
  • How did this comic book make you feel?
  • Most importantly, should you buy it?

Every Wednesday you will receive an email with our latest reviews and analyses, as well as our original comic strips and exclusive editorial content.
Thanks for signing up!