An existential tale about the spiritual journey of a gravely injured man, “Inner Traveler” features a grabbing opening sequence but degenerates into a tiresomely ostentatious philosophical tract. Theatrical and video distribution are unlikely for Christopher Farley’s feature, which could find a slot as filler on indie-film cable channels.
Intro unfolds in a matter-of-fact way that has us intrigued as to what will happen next. A low-level advertising exec referred to only as the Stranger (Scott Christian) is yelling into his cell-phone while stuck in bumper-to-bumper L.A. traffic. It seems that his boss has stolen an ad pitch he created and there’s nothing he can do to defend himself.
When the Stranger reaches the city, he pulls into an alley to vent his frustration. After kicking a concrete wall, he intervenes in a scuffle between a man and a woman and pays for it with a bullet in the chest. With minimal dialogue in these scenes, pic seems as if it’s out to capture the randomness of daily urban life, but rest of pic doesn’t nearly fulfill initial promise.
Pic takes a turn for the surreal at this point as it cuts to a mysterious desert, where the Stranger is lying half-naked with a case of amnesia. A nomad woman named Injo (Jacki Sams) greets him and tells him he must go on a personal journey “to find himself.”
“Inner Traveler’s” theme is one that’s been explored in numerous better pics — a man stuck somewhere between life and death who’s forced to re-evaluate his lifestyle before going back to normalcy. Here, that journey is spelled out with a voiceover representing the Stranger’s inner thoughts. Unfortunately, the philosophical ideas he contemplates are laughably pretentious.
Tech credits, especially Chad Wilson’s lensing, are quite accomplished for such an obviously low-budget production, but the solid imagery is overwhelmed by weak performances and the insubstantial but high-minded script.