“One Way” certainly falls into the list of the dullest and most tedious Indie films ever made. It seems that the creators, in trying to show a morbid story of a morally ambiguous drug dealer breathing his last, threw the cinematic elements out of the window. What remains is a frustrating collection of scenes to somehow connect a plot without any motivation. “One Way” will almost make the viewer want to take hold of the plot and add elements to make it better. That seems to be the only way out.
What Happens In The Film ‘One Way’?
Freddy (Machine Gun Kelly) has escaped after stealing a bag full of drugs and a huge sum of money from his gang leader, Vic (Drea de Matteo). However, he has received a bullet in the stomach and is bleeding profusely. He somehow manages to get on a bus to Cairo, Georgia. Back at Vic’s place, Mac, one of Freddy’s mates, is being interrogated to look for Freddy’s whereabouts. The third guy, J.J. (Luis Da Silva), has also escaped in a car.
Freddy calls J.J. to find out where Mac is and if he is with him. But Mac isn’t with J.J. Clearly, Vic’s guys have got to him. Freddy tells J.J. to go back and get him out anyhow. He then calls his estranged wife, Christine, who is a nurse. She isn’t in the mood to talk in the middle of her shift and disconnects the line. J.J. then calls him to say that Mac has been killed. This is followed by another call, this time from Vic, who tells him to return. But Freddy has made up his mind. He did what he did for his daughter, Lily. He tries to contact Christine again and explain to her his situation, but she just isn’t ready to listen. He was never there when she and Lily needed him, instead he was with Vic. So now if he needs help, he will have to ask Vic for it. As his last resort, he calls his father (Kevin Bacon), whom he hates from the core of his heart. But he, too, isn’t willing to help him until Freddie addresses him as “dad.” Will his father come to save him?
Meanwhile, on the bus, Freddy comes across a teenage girl named Rachel (Storm Reid) who is going to meet a guy named Smokie, whom she has never met or seen earlier. It’s a blind date. There is also a guy named Will (Travis Fimmel) who happens to be in social services. Freddy doesn’t want Rachel, who reminds him of his daughter Lily, to go and meet the guy. He introduces her to Will who is ready to offer her help. But when Freddie finds out that Will is Smokie, who is trying to woo Rachel into his trap, he decides to do something about it. But what can he do? Everything has only “One Way.”
Neither Freddy nor Rachel know where they are headed. While Freddy is bleeding out, and his uncertainty is whether he will live or die, Rachel’s uncertainty is life itself since she is only 14 years old, and her whole life is ahead of her. The boy, Smokie, she is going to meet, is someone whom she has neither met nor even seen before. She doesn’t even know his real name. So things can easily go south if Spooky has cruel intentions in mind.
“One Way,” despite having a clear direction in its title, is the direct opposite in terms of its plot. Freddy’s character is surrounded by uncertainty, and it goes on till the very end of the film. He doesn’t know if he will live. He doesn’t know if his wife will forgive him. He doesn’t know if his father will come to his aid. Furthermore, he is uncertain about his own decisions as well. At one point, we see him beg Christine to meet him. Then, towards the end of the film, we see him tell Christine that he is going away with the money and tells her to stay away from him. Even when he decides on something concrete, that, too, has uncertainties. For example, he sends Rachel away with the money trusting her blindly. There will be no way for him to ascertain whether Rachel did what he wanted her to do. It is only his final step that is certain and does make for an apt ending, which is him shooting Vic. Ascertaining Vic’s death seems to bring an end to a lifelong worth of uncertainties that Freddy was subjected to; living the life of a gangster as it is.
‘One Way’ Ending Explained: Does Freddy Survive?
The film also shows Freddy’s subconscious communicating with him throughout the film. It seems as if, even with death looming, Freddy’s brain is trying to make sense of everything around him. It is the only thing that keeps him sane when all his senses are failing him. He is losing a lot of blood, but it has yet to take a toll on his mind. His mind remembers what his father did to him; it remembers that whatever he is doing is for his daughter. It also knows what has to be done to ensure that Rachel is safe. In a way, his mind is maneuvering him through his last moments. This, again, doesn’t hit the spot as it should have, and appears to be a forced choice on the creators’ part to give Freddy’s character more weight. But it lacks any motivation.
There is another suggestion. Freddy might be a part of a larger scheme of fate to help Rachel. He might be put on the bus to see to it that Rachel is safe. From the way their interaction begins, it is clear that it was not meant to be otherwise. However, the creators have to be blamed for not exploring the interaction as well as not giving their conversation a proper initiation. Be that as it may, Freddie chalks up a plan to get Rachel out of the compromised situation after the bus reaches Cairo, and he sees Vic and her guys waiting for him. Freddy tells Rachel to get the money to his wife and daughter, without Vic finding out about it. Freddy almost misses the bus at the beginning of the film, and only after Rachel leaves safely, at the end of the film, does Freddy do what needs to be done.
When Vic sees him, breathing his last inside the bus, she is grief-stricken. Perhaps she didn’t want to kill Freddy. She just wanted him back. Here again, uncertainty plays its part as all through the film, it seemed as if Vic wanted Freddy dead. In a tragic moment, Freddy shoots Vic, who is holding his hand, with the gun he had on him from the beginning. Then, Freddy dies. But he is alive in Rachel, who now has a new chance in life. The last scene shows Rachel calling Christine and is about to tell her the story that Freddie wanted her to tell Christine (about the first time Freddy and Christine met).
“One Way” seems to address the “way” in which the bus is headed and symbolizes how there was only “one way” for Freddy, too, i.e., death. However, the film could have been a lot better in terms of execution and shifts from offering boredom to causing vexation. And the “one way” out for us is to skip the film.
“One Way” is a 2022 Drama Action film directed by Andrew Baird.