Kodachrome develops – despite uninspiring start

Perhaps this movie should have been called ‘Grumpy Old Man’.

Directed by Mark Raso, it is the story of a dying father whose last wish is to develop some of his old Kodak films before the technology is phased out.

Irascibly played by the ever-reliable Ed Harris, cancer-stricken Ben Ryder is “one of the world’s greatest living photographers”.

Unfortunately, he is also a failure as a father and a bitter disappointment to his son Matt, solidly played by Jason Sudeikis.

So, when Ben’s warm-hearted and attractive carer Zooey Kern (Elizabeth Olsen), walks into Matt’s office to inform him his father has only a few months to live, and that he would like him to accompany them on a road trip to Kansas, the reaction is not good.

Matt, a record executive, has a few problems of his own, and has just been threatened with dismissal from his record company unless he can ‘seal the deal’ on a new band signing.

He and his father have never been close and have not spoken for more than 10 years, so Zooey’s entreaties at first fall on deaf ears.

Of course, in the end, Matt is persuaded to come along, but only thanks to the clever machinations of Ben’s savvy manager (Dennis Haysbert).

He comes up with a clever strategy to ‘make it happen’ by organising a private meeting between Matt and the band he is hoping to sign.

However, what really makes the film, is the sometimes destructive but never boring chemistry generated between Ben and Matt.

Harris is known for playing strong roles, and as a world-renowned photographer dying of cancer he really pulls out all the stops.

The problem is it takes a while for the warmth and character of Ben to shine through as it is at first, so completely masked by his bitterness and hatred for just about everything.

Fortunately, the road trip mellows him, and once Zooey, Matt and Ben are on their way to Kansas, things start to get better.

Of course, the storyline is nothing if not predictable, but Kodachrome is still an important statement about ‘old-world’ values and how despite its superior efficiency, today’s digital technology somehow lacks the meaning and impact of the original.

Kodak film may be dead, but for some of us the memories and emotions inspired by this early technology live on.

Kodachrome is showing at Luna Leederville + Luna on SX from June 7, 2018.

By Mike Peeters

Mike Peeters Media

 

 

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