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