The Road Dance Movie Review: A Slight Misstep

There comes a moment in Richie Adams’ The Road Dance where I wondered if I would actually care what happened to the film’s main characters. It’s a story that should have a strong, emotional core, and one that has a romantic element that isn’t too cloying or tepid. But there’s an empty feeling that hangs over the film. And it’s one that damages whatever connection it’s trying to build for the audience. There’s plenty to admire, but it feels rather vacuous.

On an island in the Outer Scottish Hebrides in 1916, Kristy (Hermonie Corfield) has dreams of moving to America to start a new life. Her lover, Murdo (Will Fletcher), also dreams of the day when the two of them can spend the rest of their lives together. But World War I is approaching, and the young men are being called to battle. This includes Murdo, who promises to come back to Kristy. On the night of the road dance, a celebration for those going off to defend their country, Kristy is raped by an unknown assailant. Fearing judgment, Kristy tries to keep the pregnancy a secret from those around her, while also trying to figure out who assaulted her.

There are a few too many familiar steps the film takes that make The Road Dance not as memorable as one would hope. It’s beautifully filmed, but it also feels some of the cinematography is restrained for an unknown reason. There are moments that appear darker than they should be, and it also seems like there’s more it wants to explore. But it limits the range.

There are also a lot of characters that appear throughout in which the movie tries to build and develop, but most of the story gets rushed so it can go to the next part. We can’t quite get a full grasp of each person to be emotionally connected.

Supposedly inspired by true events, The Road Dance doesn’t quite define what is true. It could have easily dropped the opening tagline, and it would still have the same mediocre result. Sure, World War I did occur, and it’s possible that Kristy’s story did happen to one woman or some women during that time. But the tagline, as overused as it is, comes off more unnecessary here.

The performances are fine, with Corfield being the main standout amongst the cast. But Adams doesn’t give much room for the characters to breathe and become people to whom the viewer can connect. We meet a lot of people, and there are scenes that are supposed to be gut-wrenching. And yet, it doesn’t quite land the punch for which it aims.

The Road Dance releases to theaters on October 13 from Music Box Films.

Posted in ,

David Wangberg

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Search & Filter