Russell Crowe continues to amaze with his performance as an obsessed retired cop who has nothing better to do than follow 18-year-old released murderer Eric Poole (Jon Foster). Eric unknowingly has a troubled teen (Sophie Traub) as a traveling companion, but the young girl seems to know him from somewhere. The mystery deepens, as Detective Cristofuoro (Crowe) is constantly one-step behind the pair on this road trip, fearful that the young psychopath will kill again.
Crowe manages to stay in the background through much of the film, being subtle as much as possible, letting the audience and characters believe he is a pushover. This is a perfect example of Crowe showing strength in character without being over-the-top. It works well for him here to be subtle just like pacing yourself in a long distance race is better than going all-out the whole race. There is a certain kinship between his character and the movie-going audience. You want to see him succeed in preventing Eric Poole from killing Lori but you just don’t know if he can get there in time, or if he is even capable of preventing the tragedy he fears will come true. It only took Crowe nine days to film his scenes, but he made the best of them.
The film lives on it’s ability to contrast normal life with the suspense from the past and the possibilities of bad things happening in the present. A perfect example is a rest-stop scene that heightens the suspense to a heart-stopping degree. If you care for the characters, which you should if you like this kind of movie, you fear what could happen in this scene, but you can’t help but watch.
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