The Road Movie is a trip worth taking. Compiled entirely from Russian dashcam footage, this film shocks and entertains while offering us a look into the weirder side of daily life in Russia.
If you are unaware, a significant portion of the driving population in Russia have dashcams running constantly in their vehicles. Wired Magazine reports that dashcams became a necessity in Russia due to a variety of factors, including corrupt police, a legal system that puts very little stock into eyewitness testimony, and your own insurance company may not believe you about an accident unless you can prove what happened.
I first became aware of Russian dashcam footage as a result of the 2013 meteor strike that was captured by so many sources. Since then, bizarre footage captured by these dashcams has become a staple on webclip shows like Tosh.O and numerous Youtube compilations. I've gone done the rabbithole myself on more than one occassion on Youtube and watched some of these compilations.
Because The Road Movie is a different beast than other cinematic offerings you may find at your local theater, I will do my best to answer your likely questions.
Is this a "movie"? Yes! It is a documentary comprised of nothing but well curated clips from Russian dashcams. There aren't any distinct segments to the film and it doesn't have any narration. It does keep the audience engaged by mixing up the flow of the clips - a longer and more intense segment will be followed by a rapid fire montage.
Is this worth seeing in a theater? Yes! I did not get the opportunity to watch this at a theater as we were sent an online screener. I do think it would be a fun film to see with an audience because there will definitely be some vocal reactions to some of the clips. Because each clip has been included in this film for a reason, tension starts to build as soon as the clip starts rolling. For example, you are just watching a car travel down an icy road. What's going to happen next? Will it spin out of control? Will it slide off the side of the road and tumble down a hill? Will a car or truck come flying across the median and hit it? Will a moose or bear come running out of the woods? The tension is released by the payoff action of each clip and the audience will assuredly react with gasps and laughter.
The movie gets weirder as it goes along too, which helps hold interest throughout its fairly brief run time. It starts with primarily icy crashes and leads you through encounters with wildlife, natural disasters, people behaving strangely, and even some unexpected military hardware. For a good idea of what to expect, I would recommend checking out the trailer.
One last tidbit to note, I did find that this movie had an immediate effect on me. Right after watching it, I had to hop to one of our snowy highways. I found myself a little more vigilant about what was going on around me, because I had just consumed a potent concentration of vehicular mayhem. It is scary how fast these accidents can happen and you just may not see it coming.
I do recommend The Road Movie as a viewing experience. I can't say that I hope this becomes a trend and we get The Cat Video Movie or Unboxing: The Movie but I did sincerely enjoy this particular experience. If you check it out, we'd love to hear your feedback on it.