Colson Baker, aka the rapper Machine Gun Kelly, shoots blanks in a ridiculous and painfully slow crime thriller. One Way has a wounded criminal on the run from his drug lord boss. He gets on a night bus to Cairo, Georgia with a duffel bag full of cash and cocaine. The protagonist interacts with a runaway girl and other shady characters while bleeding out. He also spends the entire runtime talking on various phones trying to engineer an escape. One Way pummels your senses with nearly non-stop strobing lights and a thumping, industrial score. It adds to the unpleasantness of an utterly brainless film.
Freddy (Baker) runs frantically down a city street with baddies hot on his heels. He jumps on a bus after losing them. Freddy reaches for his side and pulls back a bloody hand. He gets a terrified call from JJ (Luis Da Silva) asking what to do. Meanwhile, in a wig shop, Vic (Drea de Matteo), and her lead henchman, Coco (Rhys Coiro), forces Freddy’s beaten accomplice to call him. She wants her money and drugs back immediately.
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Freddy, with an assortment of burner phones, calls his nurse ex-girlfriend, Christine (Meagan Holder), for help. She hangs up on him for abandoning their daughter. Freddy desperately needs blood. He dials his deadbeat father, Freddy Sr. (Kevin Bacon), next. A girl sitting in front of him notices his plethora of phones. Rachel (Storm Reid) asks to use one. Freddy rebuffs her at first but allows the request.
Freddy begins to hallucinate. He sees his inner self prodding him to snap out of it. Freddy sparks up a conversation with Rachel. He realizes she’s a runaway not much older than his daughter. Phones ring constantly as Freddy continues to beg Christine and his father for assistance. As Vic and her goons chase the bus, another passenger (Travis Fimmel) takes notice of Freddy talking to Rachel.
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Absurdity in One Way
One Way fizzles within minutes. Freddy’s bloody and delirious, but blitzes phone calls like a telemarketer working on commission. He also gets it together enough to query Rachel on her situation. So you have an underage girl chatting with an obviously injured and armed stranger. The plot descends into further absurdity as another supporting character hops on. Somehow the bus driver (Thomas Francis Murphy), who interacts with the passengers quite a bit, doesn’t find any of this alarming. Logic continues to fall off a cliff as the baddies know Freddy’s on the bus, have faster vehicles, yet never intercept it.
Director Andrew Baird (Zone 414) overwhelms with a hyper-stylized approach. The constant flashing lights, sharp edits, awkward camera angles, and out-of-focus framing adds up to annoyance. He’s trying to liven a paper-thin script with filmmaking bells and whistles. It doesn’t work for a second, especially when you factor in the grating music.
One Way is a bus ride to boredom. It’s a nonsensical film that tried my patience for the entire runtime. Baird wastes a good ensemble cast with talented players. I can only imagine they were sold an artistic vision that never gets anywhere close to fruition.
One Way is a production of 23ten, Baird Films, Bay Point Media, Highland Film Group (HFG), Ignition Film Productions, Short Porch Pictures, and Thomasville Pictures. It will have a VOD and theatrical release on September 2nd from Saban Films.