"Contrived Family Reunion"
What You Need To Know:
AROUND THE BEND’s bleak tone and ham-fisted dramatics stop it from being uplifting. Sadly, no significant drama is accrued from the reunion. The movie is too predictable and too contrived. Jason forgives his father, which is the good and moral thing to do, but something feels superficial. AROUND THE BEND has a lot of foul language. Many adults can relate to Turner seeking forgiveness for his mistakes, but this movie will bore anyone in its path.
(C, B, H, LL, V, S, DD, M) Light redemptive worldview with moral elements about forgiveness and importance of family, as well as underlying humanist viewpoint that sees no hope past human efforts; 17 obscenities, many strong, and eight profanities; scene of violence on television, and father admits to injuring his infant son; fornication implied and some brief sexual innuendo; character references his history with drugs, and illegal drug references in song; and, father abandons family and lying.
AROUND THE BEND seems to be intended as an affirming movie about an estranged father and son who reunite before it is too late. Its bleak tone and ham-fisted dramatic tactics stop it from being uplifting, however.
Jason is a young father, newly separated from his wife, who takes care of his son and grandfather. The grandfather Henry, played by Michael Cain, is dying, and, in a bout of last minute scheming, arranges for Jason to reconvene with his long-absent father Turner. Jason and Turner, played by Christopher Walken, see each other for the first time since Jason was a child. They are forced to go on a road trip to fulfill Henry’s dying wish of having his ashes scattered across the desert.
Naturally, the father and son develop a grudging respect and eventually fondness for each other. By the end of their trip, Turner must reveal the secrets he has kept from Jason since infancy, including the reasons he abandoned his family so many years ago.
No significant drama is accrued from the reunion. The movie is too predictable and too contrived. This spectacular event – a father and son meeting for the first time in 30 years – is somehow made to not feel very special or remarkable. Jason forgives his father, which is the good and moral thing to do, but something feels superficial or lacking. A much better, more sincere movie about forgiving family members is last year’s PIECES OF APRIL.
AROUND THE BEND has a lot of foul language, making it inappropriate for younger audiences. Many adults can relate to Turner seeking forgiveness for his mistakes, but this movie will bore anyone in its path. Expect to see it on Lifetime TV one Saturday afternoon.