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‘The Road Movie’ review: Russian dash-cam footage fuels real auto mayhem (in theaters this week)

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“You can get into your car without your pants on, but never get into a car without a dash cam,” Russian motorist rights activist Alexei Dozorov told Radio Liberty in 2012. Because of rampant insurance fraud, not to mention police corruption and other factors, most motor vehicles in Russia have had dash cams for the better part of this decade. Add to this that Russia has about twice as many auto accidents per capita as The US (despite only haven one-sixth as many cars), you get a lot of car-related mishaps caught on camera. Other stuff, too, like meteors. YouTube is rampant with this stuff, and director Dmitrii Kalashnikov has assembled some of the most memorable footage into The Road Movie, which Oscilloscope Laboratories (the company cofounded by the late Adam Yauch of Beastie Boys) releases in theaters this Friday (1/19).

While there are plenty of sensational, scary smash-ups, near misses and totally crazy, often seethingly angry drivers, there are some beautiful moments captured as well, and many funny random ones. I was struck by the calm, matter-of-fact reactions most of the drivers have to the mayhem around them — maybe only the Blues Brothers are more nonplussed behind the wheel. When one speeding driver misjudges a sharp turn and finds himself in a river, someone in the car remarks dryly, “Fuck, we have arrived…we are sailing.” There is zero context given for what you see, whether its a runaway bride who climbs onto the hood of a car, a tank going to a car wash, or two carloads of very scary dudes who stop another motorist on a highway. You don’t know what happened before or after, just that something unbelievable is up next. There is no narration, or even explanatory text at the start or the beginning, just 70 minutes of real Russian life caught on video.

The Road Movie will be shown starting Friday at NYC theaters Alamo Drafthouse, AMC Empire 25 and The Quad. It’s definitely a movie that’s more fun the more people you see it with. All screening dates and cities for The Road Movie are listed, along with the trailer, below.

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THE ROAD MOVIE – SCREENING DATES
1/19/2018 Los Angeles CA Monica Film Center
1/19/2018 Santa Barbara CA The Hitchcock
1/19/2018 Orange CA AMC Orange 30
1/19/2018 San Francisco CA Roxie Theatre
1/19/2018 Denver CO Sie Film Center
1/26/2018 Boulder CO Dairy Center for the Arts
2/2/2018 Fort Collins CO The Lyric
3/13/2018 Boulder CO International Film Series
1/19/2018 Washington DC Landmark West End
2/27/2018 Honolulu HI Doris Duke Theatre
1/19/2018 Barrington IL AMC South Barrington 30
1/19/2018 Chicago IL AMC River East
2/2/2018 Baltimore MD Parkway Theatre
2/9/2018 Frederick MD Area 31
1/21/2018 Portland ME Space Gallery
1/29/2018 Albuquerque ME Guild Cinema
1/26/2018 Kansas City MO Screenland Amour
1/19/2018 Lambertville NJ Acme Screening Room
1/19/2018 Santa Fe NM Center for Contemporary Arts
1/19/2018 New York NY Quad Cinema
1/19/2018 New York NY AMC Empire 25
1/19/2018 Brooklyn NY Alamo Drafthouse Brooklyn
1/19/2018 Yonkers NY Drafthouse Yonkers
1/27/2018 Rome NY Cinema Capitol
1/19/2018 Colombus OH Gateway Film Center
1/19/2018 Toronto ON The Royal
2/2/2018 Ottawa ON Mayfair Theater
1/26/2018 Portland OR Living Room Theaters – Portland
1/26/2018 Ashland OR The Varsity
1/19/2018 Dallas TX AMC Mesquite 30
1/19/2018 El Paso TX Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
1/19/2018 Katy TX Alamo Drafthouse Cinema – Mason
1/20/2018 Tacoma WA Grand Cinema
1/31/2018 Seattle WA Northwest Film Frum
1/19/2018 Madison WI AMC Dine-In Madison 6

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