Box Office - 11/01/2007
"[C]ompelling performances from the leads and George's handheld, close-up, steep-angled camerawork and an atmospheric score...capture the emotional complexity of an impossible situation."
Entertainment Weekly - 10/26/2007
"[T]here's a kind of tough beauty to this deft, satisfying thriller." -- Grade: A-
A wrenching drama based on the novel by John Burhnam Schwartz, RESERVATION ROAD is the story of two men whose lives are torn apart by a tragic accident. Ethan Learner (Joaquin Phoenix) and his wife Emma (Jennifer Connelly) are consumed with grief after their son Josh (Sean Curley) is struck by a hit and run driver. The man behind the wheel was Dwight Arno (Mark Ruffalo), a divorcee who was racing to get his own son back in time in accordance with a custody agreement. A lawyer himself, Dwight is all too familiar with the consequences of his actions. Unsure of what to do, he panics, then conceals his car in his garage. Lucky for him, the police can't find any leads, and the case quickly turns cold. Time passes, and Emma wants her family to heal and get on with their lives, but Ethan has become consumed with finding his son's killer. In a bizarre coincidence, he shows up at Dwight's office seeking legal advice about how to catch and prosecute the perpetrator. The guilt is eating away at Dwight, and he makes a plan to turn himself in, but not before he has a proper goodbye with his own son. When an image suddenly jars Ethan's memory of the accident, he begins to piece things together, causing him to quickly seek his retaliation, which results in a gripping and emotional stand-off.
Joaquin Phoenix and Jennifer Connelly are excellent as the grieving parents, both offering a painfully realistic portrait of grief. Mark Ruffalo is equally impressive as the tormented and conflicted Dwight. While the film works nicely as both thriller and family drama, it at times has an emotional intensity that can be almost difficult to watch. Yet, all tear-jerking elements aside, director Terry George has crafted a smart and complex tale of loss, and the long, difficult road to healing.