I seldom write movie reviews. Primarily because most movies these days are utter nonsense.
Last night I stumbled across an independent film on streaming Netflix titled “One Week”.
The movie launched with a bizarre and shocking initial scene in which a twenty-something Ben Tyler is told he is dying of cancer, which has already reached the final stage and spread throughout his body. I won’t spoil what happens in that initial scene for you, but if you watch this film and that scene repulses you, keep watching. It’ll be worth it.
What attracted me to this movie was the box office poster image: the main character leaning against a vintage Norton 850 Commando.
No way I could pass up a movie that has an 850 Commando old enough to still have a kick-starter.
Halfway through the movie I was nearly wishing someone would diagnose me with cancer. Mind you, I wasn’t wishing to actually have cancer (And this is by no means intended to make light of a horrible, painful, and catastrophic disease), just be diagnosed with it. What better excuse than a terminal illness could a man get to hop on a motorcycle and just take off in a semi-general direction without a plan and leave everything behind for awhile?
“One Week” is the Canuk motorcycle adventure vesion of Stienbeck’s “Travels With Charlie in Search of America”.
But it’s more about Ben than the people he meets. And there’s only a brief appearance by two dogs…one in a coffee shop window and one lying dead along a lonely country road.
Dead canine notwithstanding, this movie had treasures. Aside from the vintage British two-wheeled iron.
The music and lyrics were woven into the story with masterful precision, and every time a new song began to underscore some scene I found myself thinking, “I gotta find out who sings that” and “I gotta go buy that sound track”.
Another reason I seldom write movie reviews is that it is so darn difficult to convey how good a rare gem like this is without spoiling the story. There are no mind-bending twists or astonishing political revelations. It is a vehicle that conveys some gently philosophical ideas about how one life can’t impact others, even when the encounter that sparked the impact was merely a casual meeting or a few moments spent conversing on the street. It quietly and subconsciously implies that everything we do, every decision we make, can change the fortune of people…even people we have never met and never will meet.
That’s about all I can say regarding plot and effect without spoiling the story.
But the content alone is also worth seeing. The scenes of an old Norton gliding alongside hills and streams, with mountains and glaciers in the distance, are the stuff every man or woman who ever threw a leg over a saddle at the start of a journey hoped to see.
The palpable freedom of two wheels rolling over smooth pavement, the smell of coffee and cold glasses of beer. The idea of a cafe meal with your motorcycle hitched outside the front window like an old westerner’s faithful mount.
You would think under the premise that the entire thing hinges on a terminal cancer diagnosis that this movie is as much about death as anything else.
You would be wrong.
I highly recommend this movie. It may bring you to tears in a spot or two, but by the time the closing credits start rolling you will be smiling and thinking about having an adventure yourself…I don’t care how old or young you are.
A word of advice: If you own a motorcycle watch this movie while it’s cold and wet outside. Any hint of sunshine will see you out the door and on the road to heaven knows where as soon as it’s over otherwise.