Adopt A Highway           review by Bobby Blakey

Ethan Hawke is one of those actors that I just don’t think we see enough of. I know he works regularly but seems to be more indie stuff than wider releases and he is always just so good. His latest film Adopt A Highway co-stars Elaine Hendrix, Diane Gaeta, Mo McRae, Chris Sullivan, and Betty Gabriel with Upgrade star Logan Marshall Green stepping behind the scenes to write and direct. Could his directorial debut offer up something worth fighting for or will it not be worth adopting?

Adopt A Highway follows Russ Millings who has just been released from prison after serving 21 years for a 3rd strike conviction for possessing an ounce of marijuana. As he tries to adapt to a world he doesn’t recognize – including trying to learn how to use the internet – he finds an abandoned baby in a dumpster behind the fast food restaurant where he works as a dishwasher. Unsure of what to do, and caught between impulses of kindness and panic, Russ soon realizes this could be his chance at redemption.

I knew nothing about this film going in other than the involvement of Hawke and Green so was instantly interested. The story here is pretty simple, but filled with deep complexity and tackles it with realism. This might put some off as it isn’t an overly exciting film, but the story works great offering up a heartwarming and heart breaking tale that is more relatable than some might want to admit. Seeing this man lost and trying to find his way is something that too many people deal with every day and knowing how close to home this hits some makes it all the more powerful.

Hawke brings and uncomfortable realness to the role packing in all the necessary emotions, heart and struggle that he is going through. He embraces this role completely and the growth is slow and realistic which I loved. Even by the end while circumstances change there is still the glimpse of the same lost soul still trying to find his way. This is a powerful choice that keeps the realism intact while allowing this character to grow more gradually and instead of finding an ending finds a beginning.

The overall tone of the film is simple with once part of it being more of a road trip story I didn’t expect, but important to the rest of the tale. This is something that might lose some just because it doesn’t feature all the usually Hollywood bells and whistles and instead takes viewers on a real life journey of one man finding his way in and unfamiliar world.  

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