Award Winner Trucker DVD

Monday, 12 July 2010 16:23

The award-winning “Trucker” is an affecting tale about a hard-nosed mother who is forced to look after her estranged son when the father is diagnosed with life-threatening cancer. Michelle Monaghan (“Gone Baby Gone”, “Mission: Impossible III”) is Diane, the aforementioned mother and truck driver who prefers to lead a largely solitary existence on the road, rather than confront life head-on and develop emotional bonds with people.

Director James Mottern has assembled a solid supporting cast which includes Jimmy Bennett (the young James T Kirk in “Star Trek”) as Peter, her foul-mouthed, defiant eleven-year-old son, and Nathan Fillion (Castle, Firefly) as Runner, Diane’s best buddy and drinking partner.

Trucker on DVDA pasty-faced Benjamin Bratt (Law & Order, The Cleaner) as the sickly father, Leonard, a calming influence in an otherwise turbulent world.

Diane initially wants nothing to do with her son; she has not seen him in a decade, having conceded sole custody to Leonard. As she naively or unbendingly believes Peter’s father will recover within a few weeks or months, she maintains a cold wall of indifference towards her son.

She scrapes together a living by ferrying cargo from one state to another, and refuses to give up that life for him, even though it means taking him with her and out of school, and exposing him to alternately boring and dangerous situations and unseemly characters.

For his part, Peter hates his mother. He knows she does not love him and he refuses to do what she tells him, at least until she starts acting like a caring human being. Of the two, he is seemingly the more grown up character.

“Trucker” is a road movie that also sees its principal characters going places emotionally. The central theme is how their relationship gradually changes as they forcibly have to spend more time with each other. It is not a smooth transition however, and there are numerous, sometimes terribly painful bumps along the road.

Mottern gets some terrific performances from his cast, especially from Monaghan and Bennet. Sparks fly and there are also some very moving moments of warmth and desperation; the actors make the most of a decent script and wring every emotional nuance out of it. Thankfully there is no sickly sentimentality on view, and encounters between characters are kept realistic and gritty.

As you would expect from a road movie, there are plenty of shots of dusty, slowly changing American countryside, the barely nourishing landscape acting as a metaphor for Diane’s lean and mean demeanour. Life and the world have been passing her by and will continue to do so unless she finally grasps the needy nettle that is her son. The marvelous soundtrack is crammed with chilled-out Dolly Parton-style Country and Western numbers and acoustic guitars – perfect partners to the trucking and bar-room scenes.

As mentioned at the top, “Trucker” was the winner of several film awards in 2009, including the Jury Prize at Fort Collins TriMedia Festival, the Jury Award and Spirit of the Independent Award at Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, and the San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress (Michelle Monaghan).

It is a shame it has not picked up some of the more familiar awards, but hopefully time and word of mouth will lend it commercial as well as further critical acclaim. The team involved certainly deserve it.

The only, small complaint I have is that the DVD does not appear to come with any special features; perhaps a special edition will be released if it does well.

“Trucker” (2008) is out now, courtesy of High Fliers Films. The running time of the main feature is 93 minutes approx, certificate ‘15’ and the movie retails for £12.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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