In the Netflix thriller “End of the Road,” Reggie, the character of Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, stands in a remote roadside motel and looks at a bag of money wrapped near a presumed dead man. Reggie grabs this bag and ignores the lessons he learned from movies like “No Country for Old Men” and “A Simple Plan,” where easy money comes with a body count.
Maybe Reggie felt that the rules didn’t apply in this genre since these films were always about white people. What sets Fin de the Road apart is that it relies heavily on its black cast and crew, led by Queen Latifah. The film reaches its climax when she proclaims, “I make my own rules.”
By the time the mic drop arrives, End of the Road has already veered from the lame thriller about people doing desperate things for a bag of cartel money into territory that’s far more ridiculous and parodic, although that’s enjoyable in itself and can be secure.
Who wouldn’t enjoy watching Queen Latifah forcefully free herself from her bonds to bring down a trailer park full of neo-Nazis? Queen Latifah plays Brenda, a woman at the end of her tether grieving the loss of her husband who recently died of cancer in.
She mortgaged her home in Los Angeles to pay for her chemotherapy. Now he’s gone and so is his house. Brenda, her no-nonsense teenage daughter Kelly (Mychala Faith Lee), her teenage son Cam (Shaun Dixon), and her charming, irresponsible brother Reggie pack their bags in their truck to move to Houston.
What unfolds in the movie
They manage a few microaggressions along the way before stopping at an Arizona motel. There they hear a commotion and a shot in the next room. At that moment, Brenda announces to her family that she is an emergency room nurse. – as if they didn’t already know – and jumps to treat the victim in vain. The victim is also a thug who ripped off a swashbuckling villain named Mr. Cross by stealing his money.
Reggie is in the mood to do the same. Soon, Brenda is receiving cryptic calls from what sounds like the caller from the Scary Movie franchise. Actually, it’s Mr. Cross. Games.
What unfolds is a race-against-the-clock thriller with street hoopla and racists that’s mostly predictable save for a few howling developments. The action is clumsy. Writing is supported by tropes. Dramatic scenes overestimate the art. Range of a charming rapper turned actor, like Bridges. And director Millicent Shelton makes some odd stylistic choices along the way, whether it’s amethyst lighting or setups that have the feel of an R&B music video.
That last aesthetic makes sense given Shelton’s background. He began working on costumes for Do the Right Thing and directing music videos for artists such as Kwamé and Salt-N-Pepa before writing and directing television shows for up to 30 years. Rock to P Valley. Just being a black woman working behind the scenes in Hollywood for more than three decades makes Shelton an unsung icon. And there are moments in End of the Road that are probably as strong as they are from their perspective.
The Opening Shot
The opening shot, for example, introduces us to Brenda through the convex security mirror in a gas station supermarket and immediately reminds us of how people in the film perceive a woman with dreadlocks. He’s someone to watch out for.
And the best Queen Latifah moment in the movie is a scene where Brenda sits in her emotions, exhausted from how much she has to smile and endure. On their road trip, but before the money gets to the scene, the family is dangerously hit by two. aggressive racist hillbilly with a gun in his truck. There’s a chicken match and then a showdown along the way.
To defuse the situation and ensure the safety of her black family, Brenda apologizes to them, an extreme humiliation considering what they have just gone through.
When white men laugh like they were joking the whole time., it’s horrific to watch Queen Latifah’s poignant, angry and hurt performance as if trying to hold back her own tears. This is a film that has very few authentic moments and many absurd ones. But this little performance staged by a black woman rings heartbreakingly true.