Review: ‘Adopt A Highway’ sees Ethan Hawke challenging societal stigmas.

ADOPT A HIGHWAY

Starring Academy Award Nominee Ethan Hawke

Russ Millings has just been released from prison after serving 21 years for a 3rd strike conviction for possessing an ounce of marijuana. As he tries to adapt to a world he doesn’t recognize – including trying to learn how to use the internet – he finds an abandoned baby in a dumpster behind the fast food restaurant where he works as a dishwasher. Unsure of what to do, and caught between impulses of kindness and panic, Russ soon realizes this could be his chance at redemption.

Ethan Hawke is someone I can easily describe as versatile and earnest. The man works so often I think we really take him for granted. His resume is profoundly eclectic. His latest work in Adopt A Highway is no exception.

Writer-director Logan Marshall-Green has given us a poignant gem of a film. This story is charming and heartfelt. How can we, as a society, look beyond the labels of someone that has served prison time. How do we reintegrate them into our lives? What can we do to make them feel like they won’t be shunned? Nonviolent offenders, especially those who have been ostracized from the outside world for long periods of time just need a little compassion. Hawke’s portrayal of Russell is as complex and soulful as I would hope for. You root for him the entire film. He is endearing and heartbreaking. This is a beautiful role for Hawke. You will be buying what he’s selling, I promise. Elaine Hendrix makes an appearance as Di. She is a breath of fresh air in the short time she’s on-screen, proving that giving a stranger a chance can change your entire outlook on life.

The most surprising is that Adopt A Highway is produced by Jason Blum. This is not a film I would have expected to be in Blum’s wheelhouse as I have become so accustomed to his brilliant horror fare. I am very glad he took a chance on this. The cinematography has an intimacy that feels childlike and joyful. It is reflective of both rediscovery and the harsh realities of re-entering society. The pacing is wonderful. The script is much more nuanced than at first glance. It is ultimately about love. Adopt A Highway is a well acted, thoughtfully crafted debut film. It deserves your attention.

RLJE Films will release ADOPT A HIGHWAY in theaters, on VOD and Digital HD on Friday, November 1, 2019.

ADOPT A HIGHWAY stars Academy Award nominee Ethan Hawke (Boyhood, Before Midnight, Training Day), Elaine Hendrix (“Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll”), Diane Gaeta (Other People’s Children), Mo McRae (“Empire,” The First Purge), Chris Sullivan (“This Is Us,” Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2), and Betty Gabriel (“Westworld,” Get Out).  The film is written and directed by Logan Marshall-Green (Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Invitation) in his feature filmmaking debut.

Jordan’s Review: Accepting “The Invitation”

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Forget everything you know about the past films of director (Karyn Kusama) and writers (Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi). These filmmakers have created a new style and beginning for themselves in the genre of suspense that will sincerely put audiences on the edge of their seat; The Invitation is their new beginning. 

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After two years since the tragic event that split them apart, nine friends come together to reunited at a dinner party in the Hollywood Hills. Despite their uncomfortable history, Will (Logan Marshall-Green) and his girlfriend Kira (Emayatzy Corinealdi), decided to attend this reunion hosted by his ex-wife, Eden (Tammy Blanchard), and her new husband David (Michiel Huisman). A lot has changed in two years, and in an awkward attempt to mingle as normal, certain changes start to become more and more apparent. After hearing more about Eden’s travels to Mexico and her life changing program, Will begins to feel like this invitation has a hidden agenda. While being haunted by a tragedy of the past and his ex’s strange behavior, Will and the audiences’ paranoia worsens as the night progresses.THE-INVITATION_Argument

Your unfathomable thirst for information in order to piece together this cringeworthy night is what makes the writing so great. Director Karyn Kusama said “I like movies that reward our patience and curiosity.” While paying tribute to traditional suspense films, The Invitation constantly washes us over with self doubt, and makes us question whether we should feel uneasy or are we just paranoid?  Are we the crazy ones or are they? I guess you have to see and find out for yourself.  The Invitation will be released and available on VOD on April 8th.

4 out of 5 stars