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Goin' Down The Road: Film Analysis

1972 words - 8 pages

Goin' Down the Road is considered to be one of the greatest English-Canadian films of all time. Released in 1970, it was directed by Don Shebib, and stars Doug McGrath and Paul Bradley, with Jayne Eastwood in a supporting role. It is about the universally understood rite of passage: the two young men searching for bigger and better things.While the films strengths and weakness are addressed, it must be taken into consideration the values of the decade the film was created. The ability for the viewer to relate to the protagonists struggle creates much of the films appeal; at the same time, it is a story that has been told many times before. The minimal budget given to the director led him to create a cinematographic effect of realism. It is also a distinctly Canadian film yet it sometimes over steps the boundary between cultural awareness and cultural hypocrisy. Altogether, it is a simple yet poignant film about the coming of age story of two high school dropouts from the Maritimes, Pete (McGrath) and Joey (Bradley).The film tells the story of Pete and Joey. Two young men, in their early twenties, who are fed up their dead end lives working at a Cannery in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. After speaking to some friends from Toronto, who offers them accommodation and better jobs, Pete and Joey pack up their lives and head off to the big city with high hopes. Upon arrival in Toronto, they realize that beds and jobs are not going to fall into their laps as they had supposed; their friend has no room for them and they have to sleep at a shelter. Before falling asleep, Pete and Joey see a classified section in the newspaper and are happily amazed at the amount of jobs available. The next day their naïveté is revealed, when, to their surprise, they are denied jobs because of their lack of education. Pete, the more hopeful of the pair, goes to an ad agency and is promptly turned down because of his lack of an education. Joey, who seems more adept at taking whatever comes his way, quickly finds a job at a bottling factory. Ironically, Pete and Joey both end up working at the bottling depot, doing exactly what they were trying to escape from, and for only a minimal wage increase. Life eventually falls into the same routine day after day: move bottles, drink beer, pursue women. Suddenly Joey's girlfriend, Betty (Jayne Eastwood) announces her pregnancy and shortly thereafter Pete and Joey are fired from their jobs. The three are kicked out of their home, with little money and nowhere to go, forced to live in filthy rooms as they all struggle to survive.The film is a typical, down on the luck, coming of age story, about a time of personal growth and discovery. Goin' Down the Road depicts an event that occurs across all cultural and racial boundaries. It is illustrates a uniquely Canadian problem: the hardships and struggles of thousands of Maritimer's in quest of jobs and prosperity; although the context of the story is uniquely Canadian, the concept of...

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