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Off Ramp

Nathan Tape’s feature film OFF RAMP is a love letter to the outcast and misunderstood citizens of the world, in particular, the Juggalos. What is a Juggalo? To the non-initiated, they are the face-painted followers of the band ICP or Insane Clown Posse. To a fellow Juggalo, they’re family. Widely known as one of the most accepting social groups (who were at one time labeled as a criminal street gang by the government, but was later overturned) of lifestyle, race, religion, or affiliation. They meet annually at The Gathering of the Juggalos in Ohio, where the protagonists of OFF RAMP are headed shortly after Trey (Jon Oswald) gets out of prison. Trey meets up with his longtime friend Silas (Scott Turner Schofield) and they head out on a road trip to The Gathering.

So far, all of this sounds like the setup of a documentary about two Juggalos heading to a concert gathering, but this narrative feature is so much more. At times, I didn’t know what to compare this movie to. Sometimes it was dark like NATURAL BORN KILLERS, then it was a buddy comedy akin to HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE, then it became a tender drama. As I was watching it, I settled on it being this generations version of SLC PUNK mixed with a bit of TRAINSPOTTING. One thing is for sure, this chameleon of a film hits all of these thematic notes perfectly and leaves you changed by the end credits.

The performances are all spot-on with great one-liners (a good portion of dialogue was improvised) and you get the feeling that the lead characters have known each other forever. The chemistry between all the actors is strong and as the stakes get ratcheted up over the course of the movie, you’ll find yourself getting very invested in what happens to Trey and Silas.

OFF RAMP looks and sounds fantastic with a great soundtrack. Tape’s stylistic approach to lighting and camera movement hits in all the right places. The cinematographer for this movie, Bron Moyi, should be winning a ton of awards for how this was shot.

There is something in this movie for every type of audience, although there’s one scene that made the audience I saw this movie with squirm like few other films I’ve attended over the years. It’s great to see that even someone like me, and an audience that was primed to see subversive and unique movies at the Boston Underground Film Festival where this screened, could still be surprised. OFF RAMP is playing several more film festivals and is sure to be a hit whether you’re down with the clown, or just a fan of good cinema.

Off Ramp
Reviewed as part of the 2024 Boston Underground Film Festival
Off Ramp | October 28, 2023 (Poland) Summary: A couple of lovable, degenerate Juggalos must sojourn through America's hellish underbelly to The Gathering of the Juggalos, the one place on earth they feel accepted.
Countries: United States
Directing
Screenplay
Cinematography
Sound
Acting
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