Pendance 2022: Our Review of ‘Anchorage’

Pendance 2022: Our Review of ‘Anchorage’

Two brothers steal a trunkload of drugs and decide that the best place to offload them is the place that gives this directorial debut its name, Anchorage. Starting out in Florida, the pair crosses the country before heading north to Alaska, but the film starts with them already in the California desert and a week into their journey. Jacob (Scott Monahan, who also directed the film) does all the driving as he does not trust John (Dakota Loesch, who wrote the screenplay) behind the wheel. Combined with copious drug use, that is the reason behind their meandering pacing. The duo sleep in broken-down homes along the way, content on taking their own time to make their fortune. That’s until an incident occurs that changes the trip’s entire dynamic.

Shot with a skeleton crew and barely any actors outside of the main duo, Anchorage has the same obstacles to overcome as all low budget films of this pattern. Namely, is there enough happening along the way to keep the audience engaged? And are the characters likable or at least engaging enough for the audience to want to invest their time and attention to the story as it unfolds? Anchorage does take a very long time for things to happen. The inciting incident mentioned in the opening paragraph doesn’t happen until the last 20 minutes of the film, so the film really rests a lot on the second point.

The characters are losers, chasing a pipedream to sell off all the drugs for a million dollars while consuming a bag a day on their own. It becomes obvious early on this is a fool’s errand and it won’t end well. And while some audiences may be engaged more by the characters, I was happy the film wasn’t longer than it was.

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"Kirk Haviland is an entertainment industry veteran of over 20 years- starting very young in the exhibition/retail sector before moving into criticism, writing with many websites through the years and ultimately into festival work dealing in programming/presenting and acquisitions. He works tirelessly in the world of Canadian Independent Genre Film - but is also a keen viewer of cinema from all corners of the globe (with a big soft spot for Asian cinema!)
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