World Traveler

Reviewed By Thom
Posted 04/26/02 19:29:51

"Which way is home?"
3 stars (Average)

World Traveller is about a man lost, at the crossroads. It’s a road film but one that circles from point A to point A rather then to Z. It is the perfect metaphor for the angst of indecision in matters of the heart.

Billy Crudup plays Cal who we meet on the road, dreams often of his two year old son and while we try to figure out what happens, he drives from town to town, trying to figure it out himself.

At one of these stops, he meets Dulcie (Moore) who joins him for a few miles. He thinks she may be a suitable travelling companion but instead becomes a catalyst for Crudup to reasses why he’s driving everywhere but home. Cal thinks she is like him, a little bit lost on a downward spiral of his own making but he soon finds out that her problems are deeper then he is able or willing to go and makes one of those life-defining choices.

Out on the road, all his habits and major life issues are revealed. His drinking problem, his relationship towards women and his father, his relationship towards himself. There is not so much self-discovery as there is the confrontation with the consequences of his choices. While the mechanism is not simple, the message comes down to, “fire, hot”.

It takes a Cal a few times getting burned before he gets the message and puts a bandage on it. The problem for him, like many the classic problem of the male, is committing to a family or following his wanderlust. For his wife, and women in general, the choices are simple, take care of life. A man has no biological sense of dependence and is weaned off female support early on to become a penis … pointing straight out into the world, a direct line with a beginning and end, unecumbered by cycles.

The complex characters live inside a simple plot. Because Cal is himself wandering during most of the movie, there is no predictability. Everything comes as a surprise to him and to us. We are sitting in the back seat, watching, wondering and waiting.

All that watching and wondering would get tiresome if Crudup, Moore and Cleavant Derricks (with a supporting role as Carl) weren’t giving the kind of finely tuned, skill testing performances actors dream about. Moore gets back to the kind of performance she gave in Short Cuts or Boogie Nights. And Crudup is just so watchable.

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