Reservation Road

Even the best actors — and I'd rank Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Ruffalo among their generation's finest — can't save a movie that aims for tragedy but stalls at soap opera. Directed by Terry George from a novel by John Burnham Schwartz, the film concerns a hit-and-run that shatters two families. Phoenix plays the father who sees a car slam into his ten-year-old son. Ruffalo is the driver who flees the scene and hides his trail when the child dies. Jennifer Connelly and Mira Sorvino portray wives caught in the crossfire. By the time the grieving father picks up a gun, you know exactly where the film is headed. The foreboding weighs a ton.

From The Archives Issue 286: March 8, 1979