Terry is a suicidal voyeur; Nick is terminally ill. Nick agrees to either give Terry his life insurance, or kill him if her prefers, if Terry will help Nick live out his dreams before he dies.
Here's a refreshing change of pace for the indie film scene, a 1970s-style road movie that depends on character rather than attitude and punctuates the action with insight rather than random violence.
Lonely voyeur Terry (Arquette) gets involved with the cockily unpredictable Nick (Hunt) when the latter finds Terry about to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge, and offers to exchange a bottle of pills he carries for the watch Terry is wearing. It turns out that Nick has three weeks to live. He pressures Terry into accompanying him on a spree to fulfil his last fantasies, get through enough wildness to last the rest of his life and take a trip to the small town where he grew up and where his brutal father still hasn't repaired the garage he took a sledgehammer to on the night he left.
Debuting writer-director Finn Taylor films it all with an acid haze a little reminiscent of Wong Kar Wai, and gets back to the sort of elliptical characterisation common in films 25 years ago which comes across as far more like real life than the tidy, on-the-nose dramatics of most mainstream cinema. Terry and Nick are alternately pathetic, sympathetic and annoying, and by the end of the film have earned any tears the audience sheds for them.
Arquette and newcomer Hunt are charismatic leads, with Hunt showing real star quality as the terminally-ill punk, and there are excellent turns from Cathy Moriarty as Hunt's blowsy aunt and Kathryn Erbe as his tattooist girlfriend. It also boasts an out-of-the-way music track of apt but unfamiliar tunes.
The film's unconventional style gives druggy magic enough to get over a plot which might seem like a downer, and deliver something genuinely worthwhile.