The news continues to be good for Native Hawaiian actor Jason Momoa. He's likely to play Aquaman in the next Superman movie, and the SundanceTV series Red Road, in which he stars, has been picked up for a second season.
Any actor will tell you it's good to have work. But we have a feeling Momoa the first-time filmmaker is on a bigger high than Momoa the actor right now. That's because Road to Paloma, which he wrote, directed, and produced — and in which he also stars as the antihero Robert Wolf — has finally been released to the public. And critics — well, many of them — are saying nice things.
Jeannette Catsoulis writes at NYTimes.com that "the film’s loose naturalism and strong acting … are slyly seductive," and adds that "Wolf’s journey may rest on a weighty issue (the poor policing of crimes on Indian reservations), but it never feels didactic." Catsoulis concludes that Momoa "seems determined to stretch beyond the warrior roles that have been his bread and butter, and so far the evidence looks promising."
Los Angeles Times reviewer Gary Goldstein criticizes the film as not "terribly profound or unique," but goes on to cite its merits. Like many reviewers, Goldstein commends Momoa on capturing the Easy Rider vibe, and adds that "Momoa creates an involving if relaxed pace, one whose moody rhythms are infused with a kind of soulful spirituality. He's helped immeasurably by Brian Andrew Mendoza's stirring cinematography, which captures the film's dark corners and wide open spaces with equal skill."
"Lots of energy here, to say the least," writes Joe Neumaier of the New York Daily News. "But Momoa makes much of it work through sheer force of will … There’s enough heart here to make up for whatever first-timer miscalculations ride along too."
Some outlets — including The Hollywood Reporter, Village Voice, and The Onion AV Club — have given Road to Paloma the thumbs-down. You can read more good, bad and ugly opinions at the reviews-agregating site RottenTomatoes.com, where Road to Paloma has a 70% favorable rating as of this writing. Momoa's film is faring better than most — that's impressive for the work of a first-time auteur.
But you don't have to take these critics' word for it — you can watch Road to Paloma yourself, wherever you are. It was released in theaters in New York and L.A. on Friday, but is now available on demand through Google Play, Amazon and iTunes. You can also buy it on DVD through the usual storefronts.
Here's the trailer: