by Olawale Oluwadahunsi

Rudolf Buitendach’s Where the Road Runs Out is an everyday story about how the legacies of our homeland must be built and upheld.

George’s father’s legacy is a field station in Malabo, Guinea, which once was the highest cocoa producer in the world. But that is the past. George (Isaach de Bankole) leaves for school. And instead of returning home to keep up the legacy, he stays away living and working in Rotterdam, returning only when a friend Cheese dies. He finds that money sent to keep a local orphanage was diverted and the field station messy.

Where the Road Runs Out tells an appealing but unadventurous story because it has been repeated over and over, forming a cliché. Rudolf’s subtheme of love between George and the caretaker of the orphanage, Ms. Carol has been over-flogged in movies. Must a love web be wound round the main actor and the lady? There must be another way to introduce the sub-plot.

The acting is uneven. Carol’s countenance, facial gestures and body movements accurately agrees with her lines even as the hospital scene where she cried is a delight to watch. But the Rotterdam scenes are ruined by banal acting. It gets better in Malabo, thanks to child actor Sizo Motsoko who plays Jimmy, a local kid, who injects life to a slow paced movie.

The film does have one major shortcoming: Cheese, the late friend, should have been shown. Dedicating a moment or two to his character will give better understanding.

These are the lessons Buitendach tries to teach with Where the Road Runs Out: If every African has the sole mission to travel to gain more knowledge about several fields and then return to their country to develop it through what they have learnt, Africa will definitely be better off than where she is now. Also, paying attention to the dictates of the conscience tends to put anyone in the best possible position.