Written by: E.B. Hughes | Directed by: E.B. Hughes | Genre: Crime/Thriller/Drama
Max (Denny Dale Bess) is packing up and being released from prison, Even being incarcerated hasn't allowed him to kick his drug habit. I've been told that's pretty normal, and that prison rarely actually rehabilitates. But except for the habit, it really looks like Max is making a go at living a law abiding life. He's got himself an apartment thanks to an old friend Ziggy (Don Striano), and even meets a woman who happens to live next door. His apartment may not be the Ritz, and it seems drug overdoses and suicides are up in the area, but it's something.
The woman next door is Sara (Reyna Kahan), and Max makes an effort to get to know her with a bottle and some conversation. Eventually he confides in her that he has been in jail and gets embarrassed. She seems not to care all that much, but Max decides to call it a night. Meanwhile, Max's old boss Lucius Jones (Mark Borkowski) finds out he's been released from prison. Lucius and Max have a history that goes beyond being Max's boss. You see, before being put in jail, Max stole 20K from Lucius and Lucius isn't a man you want to steal from. It's not just about the money, it's about people's perception. Lucius can't afford to look weak and forgiving. It's not good for business. The Long Way Back is ramping things up, and I for one, am doing anything but complaining.
As Max tries finding work, he quickly realizes that all the cliches are true. Aboveboard work for an ex-con can be tough to procure but to make matters worse? After spending their first night together, Sara finds a needle in Max's room. The cat is out of the bag, but Max has bigger fish to fry. He's going to see Lucius and try and sort things out, and although not outright killed, things go a little sideways during the visit. Max will live to see another day, but Lucius has other plans for him. Some work that needs to be done and to pay of his debt, Max is the man.
You can probably guess at the work Lucius wants Max to do, and I'm not going to even hint at how this film ends, but what's important to know is that this film is really good. Max, as a soft spoken and troubled man manages a very life-like performance of a flawed person. Sara finds her footing alongside of Ziggy, as the film's notes of optimism and friendship. But like anything good, there has to be an opposite and Lucius' character is exactly that. The story being told is a common one but still powerful. Powerful enough to create a film both interesting and even sometimes powerful. The Long Way Back is best explained by reading the title itself. It essentially sums up the premise in just a few words. E.B. Hughes has crafted a winning film with help from a talented crew and group of actors. Thank you for reading. 4/5 stars.
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