Director Andrew Baird delivers a strong neo-noir in the shape of One Way. A gritty thriller which is essentially set within a single location – a bus – Baird infuses the film with enough visual flourishes and energy to make it feel like it has a much broader canvas. The filmmaker is assisted on his journey by an impressive cast – and they all give One Way a major fuel injection. Colson Baker (aka Machine Gun Kelly), Kevin Bacon,Travis Fimmel and Storm Reid all commit to the material, crafting multi-layered performances which give the film an authentic human touch.
Baker is Freddy, a criminal on the run with a bag of cash and a crime boss on his tail. Hunted and injured from a gunshot to the gut, he takes refuge on a bus heading out of town. With the clock ticking, Freddy looks for escape and redemption – but will he find it surrounded by people he can’t trust. Connections with fellow passengers are slight – but he does strike-up conversation with a young woman with a past to hide (Reid) and a man who may be friend or foe (Fimmel). Freddy turns to the only person who can help him – his estranged father (Bacon) – but even he can’t be trusted.
One Way is a film built from characterisation and performances – and at the centre of it all is Colson Baker. Probably best known as a musician (under the stage name Machine Gun Kelly), Baker has dabbled with acting in recent years. However, One Way shows that he really has the chops for drama. That’s no mean feat when he’s going face-to-face with Kevin Bacon – who is on particularly skeevy form – and rising star Storm Reid.
It may sound highfalutin to say that it’s almost Steinbeckian in its portrayal of the transitory American working class, but One Way has the grit and grim of old fashioned Americana. In a sense, Andrew Baird shoots the film in a way that someone like Robert Siodmak might have done seven or so decades ago. It’s about people wanting to escape and break away from their limitations. Yes, it deals with stereotypes and genre tropes – but that’s what a film like One Way does – it’s a morality tale where winners and losers are all playing the same game with different odds.
Well crafted and expertly acted, One Way might not be a huge film – but it’s one which works exceptionally well within its limitations. A director with skill and a cast with talent ensure that One Way is a thriller which has plenty to offer.