Route 60 is an odd movie that doesn’t quite fit into any strictly defined genre category, but that’s what makes it so great. Obviously, when creating the script, Robert Gale, who took up directing, was inspired by The Twilight Zone, Gulliver’s Adventures and Alice in Wonderland, weaving the theme of traveling into the unknown and the fantastic into the usual road movie style.
As a result, in addition to a funny cast with quirky characters and unusual situations, Route 60 turns out to be quite a life-affirming movie. While it has a dark undertone at times, it’s mostly light-hearted and funny.
Some may actually find this a little too cliché given some of the ideas and themes that the story appeals to, the basic concept is to chase your dreams while encouraging viewers to strive for the same.
What is the movie “Interstate 60” about
Following the opening reprise, Route 60’s narrative introduces the main character, Neil Oliver. He delegates the responsibility for making even minor decisions to a magical black ball that randomly represents one of two decisions based on categories: yes or no.
In addition, the system of his life attitudes collides with the real despotic nature of his father, who imagines his son to be a successful lawyer. The concern is that this choice was determined by this same father, uncomplaining mother and compliant bride, who pathologically has no opinion.
Oliver Sr. is actually happy with his life choices and his life: a routine of his own making. The fact is that the father does not take into account the passion and desires of his son, while making the choice for both of them with firmness. The parent downplays Neil’s talent as an artist.
If he’s willing, Neil, like millions of other young people before him, must leave behind his dreams of becoming an artist and follow the path his dad walked before him. The only support the protagonist receives is from his younger sister and from a man who unexpectedly breaks into his existence in the person of a mysterious man with an exotic smoking pipe named Grant, who takes on the role of a mysteriously appearing mentor.
From now on, Neil appreciates the existence of alternative paths and pays attention to the details and trifles around him. For example, on billboards that are empty for other people, only he sees images of the beautiful girl of his dreams.
On another occasion, a conversation with Ottis during a workday turned out to be one of the key insights. Unlike pessimistic colleagues, this guy lives a conscious life, so he also sees the same girl. Well, getting to know her real incarnation will eventually make Neil happy after many unexpected meetings, dialogues and even mind-blowing trips.
In addition, the story confronts Neal with his other extreme: an alternate ego from the future, in which he has become so devastated by his unfulfillment that he kills his own father and is later killed in a car accident.
While any part of this exaggerated reality could be a dream or a parallel reality, Neal drives his red BMW down the hill to return the keys to his father later, thus breaking the vicious circle.
What really matters is that thanks to Neil’s success as an artist, Oliver Sr. now has ample opportunity to help his son create his future. Perhaps this person would have become the first investor in Neil’s art gallery, and the next birthday celebration would have taken place with a completely new emotional climate and gifts.
The meaning of the film “Interstate 60”
With diverse characters and plot intricacies, Route 60 truly creates its own American fairy tale, full of fascinating life lessons and moral messages.
First of all, the protagonist himself never made any special efforts to find a soul mate, because the vast majority of people prefer to move through life next to familiar and recommended routes, ignoring the exciting alternatives that arise from a deliberate or accidental exit from the main road.
In its broader sense, the plot of the film is presented in the presence of a ball, in which the indecisive hero constantly asks for decisions when he cannot make a choice himself, which happens to him almost constantly.
Firstly, the very existence of an external factor that frees Neil from responsibility would hardly teach the protagonist to make his own decisions, even the simplest ones. Therefore, the scene becomes the climax when Neal throws out this ball, finally relying on his own mind and acquired experience.
Secondly, the people and places that appear in the course of the story clearly, if sometimes clumsily and even crudely, guide Neal to the idea of what is actually right and what is not. After all, it would seem that it is not so difficult to give up a legal career immediately after a visit to Morlow City (it’s funny that the name is translated into Russian as “City of Rotten Law”).
This is a place where they distort the law and the truth, and overactive lawyers chase tourists and residents through the streets, offering their services. Morlow’s legislators fuel a corrupt system that won’t budge: they base their lives on twisted laws that were passed by someone else.
In a similar vein, the film’s other message is not too hard to grasp: about addiction, when on the way from Morlow, Neal ends up in the town of Banton, where the local younger generation would prefer drugs “Euphoria” to responsibility for their lives and the need to make decisions and strive for what -That.
In addition, the path along an unusual track relieves Neil of some other difficulties associated with the choice. So, he gives up smoking while giving a ride to a man who is dying of lung cancer. In addition, he also understands the harmfulness of excessive consumption of unhealthy food when he meets a poor fellow who is unable to satisfy his stomach even with eight servings of hamburgers and suffers from this.
Another piece of film wisdom encourages the audience to follow their dreams, even childhood ones, without projected shame. Uncertainty with his life path and failure to fulfill his desires to become free from external opinion lead Neal into confusion. And his completed journey, full of the unknown and uncertainty, serves as a way to get out of the impasse.
After all, the film itself continues to be a hyperbole of the modern consumer society and capitalizes on Neil’s actions as an alternative, even if in minor ways.
Movie ending explanation
Since Route 60 focuses on morality, it is Neal’s desire to find an answer to the question of meaning that initiates a cascade of events and dramatic changes. And all this in order to change his outlook on life.
As you know, the main character dreams of becoming an artist, but he is not ready to make this choice. To be fair, Neil is nominated for an arts scholarship, but initially berates himself for failing to open the envelopes based on their weight.
On the trip, fellow traveler Grant, who suggested that Neal get away from his problems and be distracted by a mission to deliver a package, jokes about the fact that Christopher Columbus was not sure about the tailwind during his journey in search of an alternative route to India.
In the five centuries of the film, the well-established sailor has come to believe in the existence of another way and has guided himself and his crew into the unknown. This metaphor indicates to Neil that he has long refrained from making his own choices.
He was terrified at the thought of going to law school, as well as the uncertainty about believing in himself. By signing with Grant, for the first time in a long time, Neal sets himself a clear-cut goal that involves meeting many great people. Later, Neal realized that this mysterious Route 60, which was not marked on any atlas of US highways, like life itself, is always fraught with something exciting, full of events and chances.
In other words, discoveries and opportunities are constantly waiting around the corner for those who care about the details and live in the present with sincere admiration for the process itself. As Mr. Grant says, all the time that dreamers strive for unrealizable frontiers, Neil fascinates himself with little things, random fellow travelers, discoveries and acquired experiences.
The ending, showing the comical first seconds next to Lynn – the very girl from the billboard, reminds viewers that ideal people and circumstances do not exist. And the package that Neal carried is especially valuable because of the stories behind its delivery, as the experience gained is always better than any material goods.