Review: Kodachrome

Ed Harris, Jason Sudeikis, and Elizabeth Olsen in Kodachrome

Kodachrome boasts great performances from the key cast, which includes Ed Harris, Jason Sudeikis, and Elizabeth Olsen. If you appreciate Ed Harris’ acting talent (and who doesn’t) you’ll enjoy this film.

A father and son relationship centers the film. Ben (Harris) is a world-famous photographer but a crap dad. His son Matt (Sudeikis) hasn’t spoken to him in over a decade. Then one day Ben’s nurse (Olsen) shows up in Matt’s office.

Matt is a record company exec in NYC, but he’s about to lose his job. Zoe the nurse wants him to drop everything and drive his dad to Kansas. Ben has four rolls of undeveloped Kodachrome film, and he’s dying of cancer.

The film is based on A.G. Sulzberger’s 2010 New York Times article “For Kodachrome Fans, Road Ends at Photo Lab in Kansas.” It’s about a father and son who take a road trip to Kansas in order to develop film at Kodak’s last Kodachrome lab before it closes its doors.

Matt’s not interested. His dad’s manager (Dennis Haysbert) bribes him with a promise of a band to sign.

Ed Harris, Jason Sudeikis, and Elizabeth Olsen in Kodachrome
The inevitable inevitably happens in this film

Off they go: dad, son, and nurse in an old convertible. It takes them over a week to get to Kansas because they stop to see Ben’s brother (Bruce Greenwood) and sister-in-law (Wendy Crewson), the people who actually raised Matt while Ben roamed the world.

Ben is mean. He says awful things to everyone. Everyone. He thinks he’s trying to make amends and be nice. He’s not. Catching a great photograph can make him smile, but everything else is pain and dying.

When they reach Kansas, photographers from all over the world are gathered there for their last chance at getting some Kodachrome developed. Pivotal and moving things happened in Kansas.

The things that happened once they reached Kansas were the only surprises in this very predictable film about a father, a son, and a beautiful nurse. Ed Harris is so good as the irritable father who doesn’t know how to connect with his angry son that it makes up for the predictable plot and the obvious conclusion.

This isn’t the best father and son relationship drama I’ve ever seen, but it does have an interesting photography storyline for people who remember the days of actual film with fondness.

Kodachrome is currently streaming on Netflix.

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