Who was it that said time is just a number? Clearly they've never seen "Round Trip" from writer, director Ren Thackham. In this film time is definitely not just a number. Especially when the sun is out in full force, you're in the middle of a wasteland, and all hell breaks loose. That's right reader. A big old fashioned desert setting. The perfect way to set up a film, that holds a lot more up it's sleeve than you probably realize. It's an interesting setting for sure. What would it be like to live through a potentially life threatening situation, outside of the normal safeties of civilization? Especially if you managed to figure out something not quite right was taking place. Something that should not be happening. Would you just go with it and hope for the best? Or fight your way out? Using any means necessary.
"Round Trip" in it's most basic form, is a story of a cop transporting a criminal through an unnamed wasteland. Very quickly however, Ned, the prisoner becomes aware that something is not right. Something unusual is taking place in this blasted desert. Could the heat or dreary landscape be messing with his head? He's darn sure he's seen a particular boomerang at some point before. Hasn't he? As reality comes crashing down, and Ned finally understands his unusual situation, he frantically tries to escape his captor Constable Rose. Rose, who simply believes Ned's actions are that of a man looking to escape, does what he can to keep control of his prisoner. Being run off the road sure hasn't helped matters much - but he's a cop. More to the point... he's a nice guy. He's got this. Right? Maybe in a perfect, normal world things would go differently. "Round Trip" is not normal however. Anything but normal in fact. All of this plays out as the two bicker back and forth, as desperation slowly eats it's way in. Deeper and deeper.
If I didn't know any better, and I don't, I would say these two men knew each other on a personal level. Or maybe Ned was just a frequent flier. However you want to look at it, there is a chemistry between the two. One that makes this insane situation all the more believable. And yes folks... there is some comedy. A nice offset to the potentially confusing and unbelievable nature of this film. Maybe not in your face laughs, but some included amusement all the same. It all works out great making this a solid six minute film you'll wish was longer.
... and it really is a great looking film. Low budget movies, especially shorts, are notorious for being a little less than stellar. A lot of filmmakers start small - so many short films are filled with loads of technical flaws. Not so much here. "Round Trip" features some excellent production, and post production work, all loaded into a really short time frame. Without delving deep to severely nit-pick, I don't really have anything negative to write. Lee Priest and Danny Bolt, were excellent choices for our ill fated characters. As I wrote above, they have a chemistry that implies they may even know one and other, but are completely different people. It all lends itself well to such a potentially... complicated scenario - bringing me to my last point. The ease of understanding written into a story that is more complicated than I'm letting on. A tribute to Thackham's screenplay. Things are paced out properly, for the best possible "WTF" moments without the "WTF" confusion factor. I watched it. I "got" it. I had some fun. What more could one ask?
In the end, this truly was a great short film. A tribute to creativity, a great cast and crew, and overall, a great idea. "Round Trip" is an easy four and a half stars in my books. Well done.