Ethan Hawke Stuns In The Tender “Adopt A Highway”


What a beautiful little surprise Adopt a Highway turns out to be. This Ethan Hawke star vehicle is tender, touching, and altogether a moving experience. An independent drama with modest aspirations, the filmmaking debut of actor Logan Marshall-Green flirts with bleakness, but ultimately is a hopeful tale of redemption. Indie cinema too often ignores the latter aspect, trafficking in desperation. There’s a version of that story that could have been told here, but Hawke and Marshall-Green avoid going down that role. The end result is an unexpectedly powerful movie that manages to leave a real mark. Buoyed by a magnificent performance by Hawke, it’s one to seek out.

The film is a drama about one man trying to find his place back in the world. Russell Millings (Hawke) was sent to prison for over two decades for possession of an ounce of pot. A victim of California’s Three Strikes Law, we meet him as he’s being released back into the world. At a loss for what to do, Russell sees a world unlike what he left. The two decades have not just seen massive technological upheaval, but the passing of his parents as well. He’s lost and alone. Getting a room at a motel and a dishwashing job at a fast food point, Russell is trying to re-enter society with baby steps, even going to an internet cafe to try and get an email address. One night, while taking out the trash, he finds a baby in the dumpster. Left with a note saying her name is Ella, the baby (Savannah Sucher) is crying, spurring Russell into action. He takes her home, torn between staying on the straight and narrow, as well as finding a second chance through the child. What follows is best left for you to discover, but it’s truly touching. Marshall-Green writes and directs, with cinematography from Pepe Avila del Pino, as well as a score by Jason Isbell. Supporting players include Betty Gabriel, Diane Gaeta, Elaine Hendrix, and more. Jason Blum is among the producers.

Ethan Hawke is absolutely phenomenal here. The way he transformers into a meek man, one absolutely left crushed by institutionalization, is remarkable. Every movement, every word out of his mouth, it’s all done with a broken-ness and fear that perfectly captures what it must be like to re-enter society after a length prison stay. Through it all, Hawke, is always gentle, tender, and deeply sympathetic. Watching him with the baby, seeing a chance to leave a positive mark on the world, it all builds to a heartwarming conclusion that’s fairly bold in its decision to embrace rewards, as opposed to punishment. Hawke grounds it all in a portrait of an all too realistic man. It’s some of his finest work to date.

Adopt a Highway suggests that Logan Marshall-Green has a future behind the camera. Though not a subtle flick, the actor turned filmmaker never goes overboard in hammering home the themes of injustice. He knows he has a talented actor in Hawke who can convey that, so he lets him just do his thing. The rest is a well made and quietly powerful work. Hawke really sells it, to be sure, but Marshall-Green certainly deserves credit for penning the script, in addition to performing directorial duties.

Having opened yesterday, anyone curious about this little indie gem can check out Adopt a Highway right now. Available to rent On Demand as well as in a handful of theaters, it’s a must watch for any fan of Hawke’s, at the very least. These sorts of movies fall by the wayside far too often, just like Hawke’s character. Don’t let that happen here. The film is truly a strong one and rewards patience. Give it a shot and see what you think…


Be sure to check out Adopt a Highway, in select theaters and On Demand/Digital right now!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

Follow us

Breaking Hollywood News   


UPDATES BY EMAIL

Comments are closed.