A recovering drug addict and former TV star reunites with two childhood friends for a weekend in Vegas. Good intentions begin to collide as unresolved issues with his friends and new girlfriend begin to present a threat to his sobriety. One by one, they all come face to face with their own personal demons.
When was the last time you were an unsavory, unscrupulous jerk of a friend? Moreover, when was the last time you apologized and made amends? Many times we allow tensions to die down but never actually resolve any issues. If left unresolved, the social clog will overflow leading to resentment, pettiness, and awkward group chat interactions; yes, that meme was probably about you. It’s something I think we can all relate to and have probably been the jerk more times than we think. We all want to be the hero in our own story but in others, we may in fact be the villain. Two Ways to Go West is the perfect example of real friendships and contextualizes the aforementioned situations. We are often shown cookie-cutter buddy groups that while entertaining, are not representative of reality in most cases. This film shows us the full scope of what some life long friendships turn into, giving us the ugly side in a very authentic way. What really stood out for was the friend that absorbs the conflict of others while keeping his own to himself. I was that friend for a long time. Two Ways to Go West is a very introspective, cathartic journey that can almost be viewed as a dramatic version of The Hangover. With its weighty and meaningful tone and themes of forgiveness and reconciliation, it’s a film that is very in touch with reality. While there isn’t a huge payoff, the film succeeds as a topical look through a microscope. It’s a storyline that I enjoyed and that hit home in many respects. It’s rewatchability is at a medium.
Plot & Pace
The story focuses on Gavin as he meets back up in Vegas to celebrate the coming nuptials of his childhood friend, Shane. After leaving for Hollywood on bad terms, the three friends have some unresolved issues. Once the drinks start flowing, there’s no more holding back and everyone’s true feelings will be revealed. The film moves at a decent pace as it builds tension and awkwardness as the trio reminisces.
Characters & Chemistry
The chemistry between the three is very tension-filled. Gavin (James Liddell) is harboring large amounts of animosity while trying to fight the urge to relapse. Shane (Drew Kinney) comes off as a jealous and a bit of an asshole. Marty (Paul Gennaro) is the glue holding the friendship together, but glue can only hold for so long. The contrasting personalities make for good dialogue and a complicated friend dynamic.
Two Ways to Go West is now available on VOD. Enjoy and stay safe.
Director: Ryan Brookhart
Writer: James Liddell
Runtime: 1h 18m
Rating: 3 out of 5