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The Independent Critic

Rich Newey
Chris Mulkey, Karen Landry, Richard Riehle, Presciliana Esparolini, Elizabeth Mulkey

 "Blue Highway" Review 
Tom (Chris Mulkey) and Sandy (Karen Landry) are the perfect couple. When Tom finds out he has a terminal illness, Sandy refuses to give up hope and drags him out in the middle of the desert to an alternative healing session with Francis (Presciliana Esparolini) that will end up changing their lives forever.

A 22-minute short film from writer/director Rich Newey, Blue Highway opens with the delightful sounds of Mulkey's raspy Tom Waits style of crooning as the scene is set for what is both a relationship drama with spiritual elements. Mulkey, a veteran indie actor who will be familiar to Lake County Film Festival fans from his performance in One Night With You, is the real-life spouse of co-star Karen Landry and its their comfortable, laid back chemistry that gives the film its emotional resonance. Mulkey's Tom is resigned to his fate, essentially going along with Sandy's plan more out of a sense of duty than hope. Landry's Sandy, on the other hand, is clearly not ready to let go of her lifelong partner yet there's an underlying familial tension revealed in the response given by their daughter Emily (Elizabeth Mulkey, real life daughter of both Mulkey and Landry). It's this underlying tension, perhaps, that fuels the story that unfolds and how everything resolves.

Blue Highway benefits from its veteran cast, including the always dependable Richard Riehle who shows up as Tom's physician. Jessica Young's camera work nicely captures both the intimacy between Tom and Sandy along with the aura of healing necessary at the alternative healing site. Lee Curreri, a name that hasn't surfaced in awhile but whom many of us will remember from the television series and original Fame, serves up the film's stellar original music.

Blue Highway is a thought-provoking and involving human drama with spiritual and sci-fi elements that will have you contemplating its story long after the closing credits have rolled. While casting a husband and wife as a husband and wife can backfire, here it's the perfect choice to sell a story possessing an undercurrent of unspoken words and life experiences leading to a resolution that is far more than you're likely to expect.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic