Review: Desert Road (SXSW 2024)

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Title: Desert Road
MPA Rating: Not Yet Rated
Director: Shannon Triplett
Starring: Kristine Froseth, Beau Bridges, Frances Fisher
Runtime: 1 hr 30 mins

What It Is: When a woman (Froseth) seemingly gets lost in the desert she stops for some gas. On her way out of town she starts to realize that everything is looking the same. After crashing her car she returns to the gas station but the attendant there is confused by how, and why she returned. Further there’s some strange instance that don’t add up to her and she senses something sinister is afoot.

What We Think: Time loop films are often a…trying task. They can go incredibly wrong. Shannon Triplett does a fantastic job of reigning in her script and giving the audience JUST enough. I was not a fan of the last festival film I saw Kristine Froseth in. Here though she’s absolutely excellent. I love how certain parts of the film, which I won’t discuss, connect to other small things as the entire narrative unfolds. Its a brilliant and suspenseful labyrinth. One that successfully navigates it’s time loop premise in such a unique way. When the nature of everything is finally unraveled the payoff is so satisfying quite honestly. That in and of itself helped raise this films score. Speaking of which…

Our Grade: B-, A fascinating feature. One of the best things about SXSW is the first time directors I get to see. This is a GIANT swing for a first time writer/director. I however, have an appreciation for those that take big risks. This one also happened to have paid off wonderfully. Shannon Triplett’s next script is in development and I’m intrigued given the fresh spin on this one. As it stands I think this film will be a crowd-pleaser for those willing to spend the quick little 90 minutes with it.

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