Elijah’s Ashes (2017)

RYAN BARTON-GRIMLEY

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  B.  RBG Films, Loaded Image Entertainment, Clumsy Tiger Productions.  USA, 2017.  Screenplay by Ryan Barton-Grimley, Ari Schneider.  Cinematography by Sean Ayers.  Produced by Ryan Barton-Grimley, A.J. Gordon, Ari Schneider.  Music by Robby Elfman.  Production Design by Audrey Haworth.  Film Editing by Ryan Barton-Grimley.  Podcasts:  Bad Gay Movies.  

A young advertising executive (Ari Schneider) is called home when he learns of the death of his father.  He hopes to be able to attend the funeral, reunite with his fancy, pill-popping mother and alcoholic, homophobic brother (director Ryan Barton-Grimley, who co-wrote the screenplay with Schneider) and go back home to his boyfriend, but the reading of his father’s will provides more responsibility than he was counting on.  Schneider and Barton-Grimley have been left their father’s house in their will, but only on condition that they fulfill the deceased man’s desire to be driven to his first wife’s burial plot in California and buried next to her.  Story details that make little sense are as frustrating as the uneven performances in a film whose one main character is unnervingly dull (Schneider for the most part refuses to allow any expression to come through either his face and voice) and whose other is poorly defined (we’re supposed to hate Barton-Grimley as an ignorant villain but he behaves more like a character in an Owen Wilson comedy).  There’s not much adventure to the road movie since it takes place in very few locations, while the payoff for all this effort in the conclusion is minimal.

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