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Roadside Prophets Review

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A factory worker (Doe) goes in search of a gambling den one of his now-deceased colleagues spoke of. Along the way he meets Sam (Horowitz), a drop out and both travel on their motorbikes across America to scatter his colleague's ashes where he was most happy.

★★★★★

When a decent enough work-mate he's just met is electrocuted by a faulty video game, factory hand Joe (Doe) pays for the man's cremation and collects the ashes in a disembodied motorcycle gas tank. On his own bike, Joe sets out into the Nevada desert in search of a gambling hole the late lamented happened to mention just before frying time, planning on carrying out a nebulous last wish.

On the road, Joe gets stuck with Sam (Horowitz), a jittery teenager conducting an obscure search of his own. Naturally they run into a succession of interesting eccentrics and tour some of the more picturesque and weird back­waters of the American West.

With John Doe of X and Adam Horowitz of The Beastie Boys representing subtly different types of American nonconformity, this cruises very much in the tracks of Easy Rider. Two drop-out heroes on bikes zoom through striking Western scenery with rock on the soundtrack, bumping into bizarro counterculture guest stars: John Cusack, Timothy Leary, Balgobin, David Carradine.

Writer-director Abbe Wool co-wrote Sid And Nancy, and this effort has some of the post-punk cool of Alex Cox's early, funny films. The film's philosophising is occasionally pretentious, Horowitz grates more than is welcome and the arrival at the end is something of a let-down. However, the quiet Doe shows a lot of movie potential, throwing away a good line when he finds one, and with its unfashionable adherence to the idealism of 60s drop­out cinema and occasional deadpan belly laughs, this is well worth travelling along with for an hour and a half.

As with all road movies it is vital you have an inspired soundtrack, some amazing scenery and some off-beat characters along the way. Thankfully this movie has all three. Wool keeps a fast pace, stopping you from seeing very is happening, bar some deep philosophising and meeting of counterculture icons.

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