Where the Road Meets the Sun
To call “Where the Road Meets the Sun” a juggling act would suggest that all the figurative balls stay in the air. But quite the opposite is true in this ambitious but scattered multi-character drama, which aspires to Altmanesque complexity and ends up merely addled. The bright young cast may end up giving Mun Chee Yong’s debut feature a level of posthumous celebrity, a la “Empire Records” (“Look who was in this movie!”), but its own lifespan will be comparatively short and sparsely attended.
Attempting to make low-rent Hollywood even more of a metaphor than it already is, Yong and co-writer Tara Samat establish a $40-a-night tourist hostel as the intersection of several stalled-out lives, a diverse group sharing the same emotional inertia.
The manager, Blake (Eric Mabius, “Ugly Betty”), is pining for the wife and child he left behind in New York; Takashi (Will Yun Lee) is an amnesiac who’s just awakened from a four-year coma, during which he missed, among other things, 9/11; Julio (Fernando Noriega) is an undocumented immigrant, working at a restaurant and sending all his money home to his wife, which makes him the polar opposite of his new friend, Guy (Luke Brandon Field), a well-off Brit who has nonchalantly overstayed his visa and is shagging every “bird” he can find. Also living in this fleabag, for reasons that go blithely unexplained, is the lovely Sandra (Laura Ramsey).
Determining the timeframe in which all these characters collide requires a bit of math. The film opens on a New Year’s Eve in Times Square, where Blake drunkenly picks up a woman, has sex and breaks up with his wife; 18 months later (it seems), he’s in Los Angeles with the new love, but becomes racked with guilt for having been away from New York on 9/11. (The new babe thus does a disappearing act.) Yong spreads the confusion around: Four years later, we find Takashi in the hospital, suddenly awake after years of sleep, the huge handgun he brought with him (apparently, pre-9/11) still safely in his valise. Confusion, meet implausibility.