An intimate, often touching story about a misfit who's ridiculed and tortured by all those around him almost gets lost in the amateurish "Interstate 84," the feature directorial feature debut of writer-actor Ross Partridge. Framed as a mystery and structured as an investigation into the disappearance of a man whose body is found in the river, this compassionate melodrama has effective moments but lacks unified narrative and artistic vision. In its current shape, pic may travel the second-tier regional festival road, though Partridge reportedly intends to streamline his movie before displaying it again.

An intimate, often touching story about a misfit who’s ridiculed and tortured by all those around him almost gets lost in the amateurish “Interstate 84,” the feature directorial feature debut of writer-actor Ross Partridge. Framed as a mystery and structured as an investigation into the disappearance of a man whose body is found in the river, this compassionate melodrama has effective moments but lacks unified narrative and artistic vision. In its current shape, pic may travel the second-tier regional festival road, though Partridge reportedly intends to streamline his movie before displaying it again.

Dominant visual motif is that of a heavy man, standing on the bridge while endlessly staring down at the river and interstate traffic below. Flashbacks reveal his past as a sensitive boy, inexplicably abandoned by his cruel father and subsequently victimized by nasty youngsters. The discovery of his body and the realization of his mistreatment lead to a moral crisis experienced by a clique of men headed by Kevin Dillon, who gives a decent performance. Horacio Marquinez’s powerful images provide some visual pleasure, but yarn is tediously staged and paced.

**AU: Emanuel Levy

Interstate 84

Production

A Pop. 403 Entertainment Co. presentation, in association with Trigger Street Prods. (International sales: Wlliam Morris Agency, Beverly Hills.) Produced by Tonia Lynn. Executive producer, Kevin Spacey. Directed, written by Ross Partridge.

Crew

Camera (color), Horacio Marquinez; editor, Andrew Morreale; music, Joel Goodman; production designer, Kristin Paquette; costume designer, Marie Abma. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Discovery), Sept. 12, 2000. Running time: 99 MIN.

With

Kevin Dillon, John Littlefield, Megan Dodds, John Doman, Harley Cross, Joel Garland, Clifton James.
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