As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m usually a sucker for a road movie. I’m not a fan of big road trips, but the journey on screen is the perfect metaphor for the journey we take in our lives. Whether we end up falling in love, gunned down in a fiery blaze, or right back where we came from, that journey changes us. The people we meet along the way, who we travel with, and the adventures and misadventures we get into are all valuable points in our lives. Take one of those things away, and the whole damned thing changes. That holds true in life, as well as the film LOST IN THE SUN, written and directed by Trey Nelson.
Left living alone after his mother passed away, young Louis (Josh Wiggins, MAX, HELLION) is about to be bused off to his grandparents in New Mexico, when he’s approached by a man claiming to be an old friend of his mom’s. That friend, John (Josh Duhamel, TRANSFORMERS, RAMONA AND BEEZUS) is a down and out grifter and thief, but still charms Louis into letting him take him to his grandparents. Besides not having to ride a suffocating bus, he’ll be able to get to know someone that knew his mom.
John quickly shows his true colors after taking Louis’ traveling money to pay off part of a debt. Not enough to cover what he owes, John is beat to a pulp. This leaves Louis stuck without an alternate mode of transportation and broke. The two end up selling off Louis’ few remaining valuables and head off, with trouble following close behind.
What we do know is that John is a charmer, compulsive liar, and not above hurting someone to get what he wants or needs. But what is his connection to Louis, and why did he choose to tote him cross country? Thankfully, we get the answers in this tale that is a mix of both a coming of age relationship story with crime drama elements added in.
Duhamel does a solid job in this, though it does feel that the role was written more for someone with the chops like Timothy Olyphant. Both have done a lot of TV work, but Olyphant is definitely more well known for his dramatic roles, while Duhamel is more well known for his looks, or the fact that he is singer Fergie’s main squeeze. With this role, and his current run on TV’s “Battle Creek” I’m hoping that he nails down that dramatic side. He’s shown comedy roots, so if he’s able to level that all out, he could be a true force in the near future.
Wiggins, as a fairly inexperienced actor, does an admirable job. Louis starts out as a blank canvas, a boy in grief alone. But along the way, we get to see him break out of that grief, whether in joy from the mischievous fun he’s getting into, or anger at how John keeps making things more and more difficult. By journey’s end, we’ve been given a full character picture by him. And while most stories like that leave you wanting more, with this, you feel like things may just be okay for him, as he’s ready to handle just about anything.
As I’ve noticed from numerous films that I’ve been reviewing, the vistas provided when travelling from Texas to New Mexico are a true beauty to behold, when you aren’t being suffocated by the pummeling heat. Having traveled that way numerous times a kid, it seems almost natural that writer/director Nelson chose that path for our heroes to travel. And director of photography, Robert Barocci, takes full advantage of that, painting the screen with the terrain, unlike most of his earlier work with the Broken Lizard crew (THE SLAMMIN’ SALMON, 2nd unit for most of their earlier stuff).
While not as hard hitting as the similar themed MUD, LOST IN THE SUN is still worth the ride, that is if you have the gas money for it.
LOST IN THE SUN is now available in limited theaters, VOD, and iTunes.