The Rambler (2013) – Calvin Reeder


Writer/Director Calvin Reeder isn’t David Lynch, but with The Rambler, he’s well on his way down the same Lost Highway.

the-rambler01The Rambler, starring Dermot Mulroney walks that Lynchian white line, introducing us to odd characters, weird moments, mundane ones, and a world of oddity and confusion. Recently released from prison the Rambler (Mulroney) whose name is always completely covered up by honking car horns or other noises, comes to a strange homecoming and is promptly kicked out by Cheryl (Natasha Lyonne) who is frustrated by his lack of attention.

Once on the road, things get weirder, there are beeping lights in the sky, odd visions, and the Rambler takes it all in stride with a cool remark, fixing his hat and sunglasses.

He does however keep bumping into the same Girl (Lindsay Pulsipher) who more often than not, has her life ruined every time she encounters him, or him her, or whatever she is. Is she someone he killed, someone he loved and left, is she something more, is she connected to the beeping light in the sky?

the-rambler03There’s a Scientist (James Cady) driving around with newly bandaged mummies, and looking for willing participants for his always ill-fated experiments. He has a machine that, once you are asleep, will show your dreams on a screen and record them to videotape.

And when I say ill-fated, I do mean ill-fated, and usually pretty bloody.

The Rambler is hitching his way across the country to Oregon to help his brother out on his horse farm, but it’s a long and roundabout journey.

I found this film to be very Lynchian, and delightfully fun, even if I wasn’t always sure what was going on. There’s the subtle touches to the screen image which occasionally jerks like a VHS tape, suggesting that maybe it’s all a dream, some inserts throughout the film seem to suggest that as well.

To say nothing of some of the Things he encounters.

There are faces that keep popping up repeatedly, a silver-haired woman, a convenience store clerk…

rambHe also ends up in some illicit boxing, and one sees him fighting a guy with a really vicious left hook.

There are moments of drama, there are moments of laugh out loud comedy, and some moments where you can’t help but scratch your head and say huh?

And I mean that in a good way.

The film just rolls along filling it’s 90 minute run time easily with bizarre and memorable images, a strange body writhing across the floor, exploding heads, deformed people vomiting on our poor hero…

Reeder has crafted an unusual film that for those who aren’t willing to sit back and let the film encompass them, they’re going to hate it. But I think I can safely say that I think fans of Werner Herzog, David Lynch and Cronenberg are going to enjoy.

If you’re feeling confident enough, grab your hat, don your sunglasses, pick up that guitar case, hoist a thumb, and catch a ride with The Rambler.

The Rambler is available today on DVD and Blu-Ray from Anchor Bay. Check it out and let me know what you think of it!


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