Gone are the times when photographs were only instant in the form of a Polaroid, and photographers weren’t simply anyone with an iPhone. It’s a strange progression of technology that has taken this art form once solely reserved for a photographer, to something accessible to the general public. It’s a progression that writer Jonathan Tropper (This is Where I leave You) has recognised and investigated in his latest film Kodchrome.
Matt Ryder (Jason Sudeikis), a failing Record Producer, certainly knows this as the son of a famous war Photographer, Benjamin Ryder (Ed Harris). Estranged from his dying father, he takes a rather unexpected road trip with his Father’s Nurse Zoey (Elizabeth Olsen) to produce his father’s last Kodachrome film before Kodak stops developing it forever.
Kodachrome, written by Jonathan Tropper (This Is Where I Leave You) and directed by Mark Raso (Copenhagen), was a decent film. It was funny and endearing enough not to bore. However, it wasn’t funny and endearing enough to be anything more than that.
The markers of a new scriptwriter were all there. It was decently predictable and clichéd. The story of a young, pretty millennial working with an old bastard is something that has been done before. Likewise, the disgruntled employee doing something they don’t want to do in order to not be fired has seen the light of day. However, the exploration of a complicated family dynamic and a dying art form carried the story and made it enjoyable to watch. The overall context of an old technology not existing anymore is not a story often done with many films focusing on the future of tech.
With a small ensemble of familiar faces, Elizabeth Olsen was as good as ever as was her co-star Ed Harris. However, Jason Sudeikis was an interesting choice as someone still strongly associated as a comedy actor (despite amassing an impressive CV of indie dramas in the last few years). However, he holds his own and proves his capabilities beyond comedy films. He wasn’t always completely convincing but carried the role well enough.
What was great about the movie was that it didn’t preach to the choir about how new technology sucks. The movie wasn’t completely negative about the future of technology and glorifying the old days. Rather, it portrayed the sadness of a piece of technology dying whilst acknowledging the past as far from perfect. Life is more nuanced than purely existing in black and white, something Tropper and Raso clearly understand well.
It was very reminiscent of Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise trilogy. Just as those films are kind of about nothing, Kodachrome is also kind of about nothing but in the best possible way. Linklater perfectly developed the aimless walk and talk to create conversations and ask interesting questions.
Overall, Kodachrome was an enjoyable watch but mostly forgettable. It’s well worth watching on a Sunday afternoon when there’s nothing else to do but not one you must go see. Kodachrome is playing in cinemas nationally.
Review by Jaclyn McTaggart.