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Nerdlocker Movie Review: Kodachrome

Kodachrome is a great example of a road well-traveled still providing relevance. A repeated premise can still muster a certain amount of impact and importance if certain things come together in the right way. Assuming the basic structure is strong and worth the repeated “remakes” what’s left to close out the equation is a strong cast and an overall commitment to the material, a commitment to making it different enough despite any similarities to other projects. With Kodachrome that difference is in the motivation behind the proposed road trip between estranged father and reluctant son. It’s the story old as time about reconnecting in the face of mortality. In this case the bridging of a gap is done through a form of film on the verge of being discontinued. A professional photographer faces death as the basis of his career, the ammunition he has loaded into a camera thousands of time is also staring down a future that has no use for it anymore. His art and his life have finally collided into a messy yearning to go back and start over. Too bad life doesn’t work this way.

As I watched this movie an unexpected comparison came to mind between this film and an earlier 2018 release, Annihilation. While these films couldn’t be more different there is one similarity that I noticed both films showing unique examples of and this is the concept of self-destruction. An underlying theme throughout Annihilation is self-destruction; like taking on a mission that has proven time and time again to be nothing short of suicidal and going along anyway. Knowing something is harming you and doing it regardless, like smoking a cigarette.

With Kodachrome it takes cancer to force a resentful, despicable old man to finally acknowledge his behavior toward his family, in particular his now fully grown son, was negligent at best, terroristic at worst and knowing that the only people who loved him are the ones he treated so disdainfully without really understanding why he acted this way. He never denied his behavior but he questioned and pondered the motivation for his lifelong behavior and discovering he has no reasonable explanation. He self-destructed by destroying those closest to him and did so without reason.

In this case, unfortunately in most cases it would seem, realization of one’s self-destruction and the innate desire to fix your wrongs generally happen as death steps on your front porch. In a lot of ways it’s too late to change what has already been written. Forgiveness can be sought, as these characters search for it, but often times it’s simply too late. All these people can hope for is a moment of clarity and lack of ego to say what they have held back for so long and hope the son filled with resentment will listen just long enough to get the message. It was as if this father treated his son the way he did as a form of protection against losing what he held most precious even when his “protection” was the very thing creating a decade wide chasm between them.

Jason Sudeikis plays the son trying to hate the man from his past while trying to push away the father in front of him for fear of loving him again without reciprocation. Ed Harris plays the curmudgeon old man who is unparalleled in the world of photography but has set ablaze every meaningful relationship in his life seemingly without remorse. They resent one another for different reasons but in the face of death decide to try to reconnect even though their efforts toward this idea are rarely committed to by either one. Sudeikis’ character has every right to hate his father but as his last days with the man he despises prove, he will never truly find peace in the unspoken hope of forgiveness but rather in the actual practice of it. He must forgive the man that he has, in his mind, built into a runaway boulder of self-importance and bridge burning. Ed Harris must convince his only son that despite even his most recent abhorrent behavior, no one is beyond forgiveness; even when he tells his son otherwise.

This is a story of a road trip with the intention of reconnecting father and son in the final days of a lonely old man’s eventful but empty life. As a son tries to find it within himself to forgive someone often unworthy of it he learns to trust beyond just his father and to accept mistakes of the past as something other than forever damning but simply natural human error. In other words to let go of the burdens we needlessly carry out of some misplaced sense of self-destruction.

Kodachrome is a movie we’ve seen in different efforts but still done effectively and sincerely. The performances from the cast raise the familiar to another level and bring home a poignant, self-assured story of hope and forgiveness. It’s touching and relatable with moments that will bring a tear to your eye and a warmth to your cold dead heart if only for a moment.

Rated TV-MA For: language throughout, some sexual content
Runtime: 105 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Drama
Starring: Jason Sudeikis, Ed Harris, Elizabeth Olsen, Dennis Haysbert
Directed By: Mark Raso

Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 4/ Acting: 4/ Directing: 4/ Visuals: 3.5
OVERALL: 4 Nerdskulls

Buy to Own: Yes. Currently on Netflix.

Check out the trailer below:


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"Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world"-Jean-Luc Godard