REVIEWER: Lyall carter
Leading London lawyer and his wife re-define later life by motoring across rural India in their battered 1936 Rolls Royce, to get to a human rights festival in Bangladesh.
Recently I’ve seen some adventure like documentaries; people retracing old journeys, making new ones or heading out into the unknown. Romantic Road is head and shoulders above these films. It's a taut, thrilling adventure with a love story decades in the making thrown in for good measure with dazzling cinematography.
At a time when most couples are preparing for a simple life, Rupert and Jan Grey, a free-spirited and eccentric upper-class English couple in their sixties, ignore everyone’s advice and embark on a remarkable journey - to drive Rupert’s father’s 1936 Rolls Royce across India on their way to a photography festival in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Over six months and some 5000 miles they fall into company with tea-wallah and maharajahs, dodge tribal conflicts, negotiate with border officials and make constant mechanical repairs.
Often with films of this nature they are a passion project of the adventurers themselves. This can lead to the film being not as narratively structured as it should be, leaving us to follow many rambling side roads instead of the main thrust of the story.
And while Romantic Road gives us insight into the Grey’s thoughts on life, political ideologies and Indian’s colonial past, it never overshadows the main thrust and purpose of the narrative which is the Grey’s adventure to Dhaka and their ever evolving love story.
It’s everything you’d want in an adventure documentary. There’s triumph, setbacks and intriguing characters to meet all set against a stunning backdrop. The cinematography is utterly gorgeous bringing all the wondrous colours of India to the screen.
Romantic Road is a taut, thrilling adventure with a love story decades in the making thrown in for good measure with dazzling cinematography.