Jaclyn Bethany (director)
November 05, 2021 (published)
November 04, 2021
This brings together the inhabitants of the city and a few others as well. A bizarre group that includes an unconvincing Russian Nicolai (Van Cummerford), a British Ira (Greta Bellamacina) whose accent and pretensions are ruthlessly torn apart by locals, and one whose new boyfriend is a local school teacher whose students are also at the party and with whom he is uncomfortable.
The big news circulating is that Nina (Juliette Labelle), who left town a long time ago, has returned and will be there. This sparks Maria as they were best friends, but it seems to have all but fallen apart after she left.
The camera weaves its way through the party and we choose the different strands that develop as the film progresses. They don’t all need to come together, so there’s a naturalness to it, although there’s also a tendency toward the improvised fake chats patented by New York Wood Allen. What tends to emerge is that, aside from a couple, they’re pretty boring people living a stale existence in a boring town.
Although not necessarily the pivot, the conversations between Maria and Nina are most intriguing as to why Nina left and unlike conventional Maria, she also crossed the city lines and into New York. . These sequences reveal the feelings they have for each other and the larger aspirations and attitudes of the city.
These are, however, incongruous with the general air of the film as writer/director Jaclyn Bethany drifts us through the guests with revelations, as the party begins to disintegrate into the new year of near-endless boredom, but with a twist.
Highway One hits theaters November 5 and digital platforms November 8.