Down familiar roads

In December 2010, the last ever roll of Kodachrome film was processed at the unlikely location of Dwayne’s Photo, a small, family-run business in Parsons, Kansas.

 

KODACHROME

Director: Mark Raso
Cast: Ed Harris, Jason Sudeikis, Elizabeth Olsen, Bruce Greenwood, Wendy Crewson
Rating: (M)
★★+ (out of five)

 

Probably the most influential colour film in history, and certainly the only emulsion to be the subject of a hit song, it was manufactured from 1935 until 2009, when Kodak sadly and inevitably stopped production.

The pilgrimage to Dwayne’s, made by many dozens of photo enthusiasts for the final days of processing, was documented by A. G. Sulzberger in the New York Times article, "For Kodachrome Fans, Road Ends at Photo Lab in Kansas", and provides the inspiration for the fictionalised indie flick, Kodachrome (Rialto).

Ed Harris plays Ben Ryder, a once  celebrated photojournalist for National Geographic, who manages to coerce his estranged son Matt (Jason Sudeikis) into driving him cross-country to hand-deliver his last four rolls of Kodachrome to Dwayne’s personally.

The two haven’t spoken in 10 years, but Ben is dying of cancer,  so Matt very reluctantly agrees. Along with Ben’s nurse Zooey (Elizabeth Olsen), they jump into an old red convertible, and proceed to travel through a bunch of road movie cliches.

Though not particularly bad by any stretch, it’s just annoyingly predictable if you’ve ever seen a couple of these things, not to mention rather dull, and aside from the odd line about the purity of analogue, it flubs the chance to say anything worthwhile about what we might be losing in the great switch-over to digital.

- Jeremy Quinn

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