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Trucker - Review

Trucker

Review by Jack Foley

WHY some films go straight to DVD and others are indulged cinema releases is one of the film industry’s big mysteries. But every so often, a real little gem ‘disappears’ straight to the small screen, while the likes of Old Dogs and When In Rome are afforded an ill-advised big screen opportunity.

Michelle Monaghan’s Trucker is one of those ‘little gems’ that really deserved a shot in UK cinemas. Critically acclaimed upon its debut at Sundance in 2009, the film even had some American critics predicting that Monaghan could get an Oscar nod.

Now on DVD, it really is a rewarding experience for anyone who discovers it, showcasing a different side to the actress (more commonly associated with rom-com roles in Made of Honour and The Heartbreak Kid) as well as providing an emotionally compelling story.

Monaghan plays Diane Ford, a vivacious and successful independent truck driver, who leads a carefree life of long-haul trucking, one-night stands and all-night drinking.

That is until the evening her estranged 11-year-old son, Peter (Jimmy Bennett), shows up at her door.

Peter hasn’t seen his mother since he was a baby and wants Diane as little as she wants him. But with Peter’s father and Diane’s ex, Len (Benjamin Bratt), terminally ill in hospital, it looks like they are stuck with each other, at least for a while.

Burdened with this new responsibility and seeing the life of freedom she’s fought long and hard for jeopardized, Diane steps reluctantly into her past and takes a sidelong look at a future that no longer promises to be as simple or straightforward as she had once believed. She also must come to terms with her relationship with kindly but married next-door neighbour (Nathan Fillion).

Written and directed by James Mottern, Trucker wears its indie sensibilities on its sleeve and occasionally has the feel of a TV movie. But it’s driven by some great performances, a refreshingly honest approach to its complicated relationships and an affecting resolution to them.

Monaghan is great value as the feisty, often selfish Diane… occasionally appearing as unsympathetic in her attempts to reconnect with her estranged son. But she’s also worth rooting for too.

Fillion is typically charismatic as the hopeful adulterer, while Bennett is surprisingly strong as Peter… demonstrating a maturity (and foul-mouthed tongue) beyond his years.

Mottern’s direction, meanwhile, is unfussy and straight-forward, allowing the story to unfold in an authentic, no-frills fashion that makes the resolution more memorable.

Take our word for it, Trucker is well worth hitching a ride with.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 93mins
UK DVD Release: July 12, 2010