ROAD TO THE WELL (2016)
Written and Directed by Jon Cvack
Drifter Jack hooks up with his old buddy Frank just as the latter discovers his girlfriend has been sleeping with his boss. Drowning his sorrows in a local bar with Jack, Frank decides to try his luck with a pretty lady at the bar. One thing leads to another and two end up having sex in the back of car but it seems they’re being watched. Waking up on the roadside an hour or so later in just his underpants, Frank discovers the girl’s bloody corpse in the car and the murder weapon down the back of his pants. Panicking, he finds Jack and, deciding that the police would bang him up for murder if they alerted them, they decide to bury the body. Being forced to do some work up north for 6 months gives them the perfect opportunity to hide the corpse but how long can they keep the terrible crime a secret?
ROAD TO THE WELL is a slowburning dramatic thriller from writer/director Jon Cvack. In this, his first feature film, Cvack explore the relationship of these two friends, especially when put under strain, in a journey which sees two men doing whatever they can to survive. Frank is quiet character who seems to be trod on by everyone around him: his co-workers, his boss and even his girlfriend. Finding his boss performing a sex act on his girl at the office party is the final straw and he decides to walk out but not before taking a job from the company to work up north for 6 months despite not really wanting to. The sudden appearance of his old friend Jack in the neighbourhood seems to be a welcome distraction. A drifter with very little background, Jack seems more clued up, confident and ballsy than his pencil-pushing friend. He’s a man who takes charge and takes no shit from anyone, a stark contrast to Frank. When Frank finds himself in a sticky situation where he could be banged up for life, Jack takes charge with ease… a little too easy for our liking.
Throughout the movie, the viewer is on edge to discover what exactly Jack is all about. We know he met and slept with the deceased woman prior to her rendezvous with Frank but what exactly is his story? A curious newspaper clipping suggests a sinister past and we wonder what exactly will happen to shy Frank once they finally get rid of the body, that’s if they manage to dispose of it at all. Stopping off at old friend Chris’ (Barak Hardley) house puts pressure on the duo further but the discovery of Chris’ recently acquired cabin might just be the solution to their problems…
ROAD TO THE WELL is all about the drama and figuring these characters out. Who are they and who do they turn into? With everyone screwing each other over, sometimes literally, there’s no black or white personas which makes for unpredictable watching. Even Jack’s unflinching confidence hits a snag when he and Frank are unexpectedly disturbed, leading to the film’s most nailbiting scene with a powerful performance from Marshall R. Teague.
By the end of the film, even though events take a predictable turn, it’s the characters which will leave their mark. Micah Parker’s brooding Jack and Laurence Fuller’s contemplative Frank more than make up for the barebones plot, bouncing off the supporting cast’s performances to bring about an effective conclusion.
With its stellar use of sound (crank up the volume to hear the quieter, subtle dialogue you might otherwise miss) accentuating the beautifully shot visuals, Jon Cvack has shown that he has an eye for conveying believable characters to screen to create a realistic character thriller and I look forward to what else he’ll bring to the screen in the future.