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Jafar Panahi’s son makes his debut with a film that fails to connect whimsical interludes with an overarching, deadly serious theme.

Has ever a road movie been made in which so little actual traveling is done as in Hit the Road? If so, I have yet to see it.

For most of the rather brisk 90-minute runtime the characters - an Iranian family of four- are stranded on the side of the road instead of ging somewhere. As a result, the movie as a whole doesn't go anywhere either.

Debut director Panah Panahi might have inherited a keen eye for observation from his multiple award-winning dad Jafar, he is less astute in telling a coherent tale as he cobbles together a series of whimsical skits, hoping in vain that they feed into the more serious overall arc of the family's 20-year-old son escaping across the border to Turkey.

The performances do partly make up for the lack of momentum in Hit the Road - young Rayan Sarlak has the most charming scenes - but it's not nearly enough to keep you entertained throughout the meandering narrative. Hit The Road even manages to botch the ending with a needlessly tacked-on sequence with a dog, prolonging the tedium even more.

release: 2022

director: Panah Panahi

starring: Pantea Panahiha, Mohammad Hassan Madjooni , Rayan Sarlak, Amin Simiar


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