Kodachrome – movie review

by James Robins / 06 June, 2018
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The Kodachrome motion picture isn't quite as good as its version in print.

Kodachrome was the name of an early form of colour film loved by still photographers for its warmth. In 2010, as Kodak descended into bankruptcy, a shop in Kansas was announced as the last place where Kodachrome could be processed. It became a kind of pilgrimage site for fans – captured in a New York Times piece.

This movie is based on that piece, though its connection to a bygone world of emulsion and darkrooms is mostly tangential. And there’s a certain irony, too: Kodachrome is largely being released by Netflix, a company that is digitally disrupting screen entertainment.

Jason Sudeikis plays Matt, a record label A&R man (there goes another failing industry) estranged from his famous photographer father, Ben (Ed Harris) who’s in the final stages of cancer. Even though father and son haven’t seen each other for 10 years, Ben asks Matt to accompany him and his nurse (Elizabeth Olsen) on a road trip to that little shop in Kansas.

What follows is a plodding drama about forgiveness, with plenty of airing of grievances between father and son. “A man should know his father, no matter what kind of bastard he is,” one character says, which is highly disputable.

The redemptive conclusion can be seen as soon as the basic plot is set up, and the journey (literally) to get there barely holds any interest. Only Harris, with his bright blue eyes and grizzled persona, elevates the picture above pure tedium. The Times piece is good, though.

Video: Netflix

IN CINEMAS NOW

★★

This article was first published in the June 9, 2018 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

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