The Road Movie (2018)

NR Running Time: 67 mins



  • Watching Russian dashcam footage is something people love to do, and now some of the "greatest hits" are now assembled in a easy-to-watch 67-minute package.

  • You know how it is a commonly held belief that people cannot turn away from a car crash. Well, here's 67 minutes of that.

  • Could potentially become your new favorite internet addiction.


  • Could potentially become your new favorite internet addiction.

  • This is definitely a hard sell for someone who does not spend considerable time consuming social media.

  • While it's nice the work has been done for you, with the thousands upon thousands of videos and compilations of Russian dashcam footage on YouTube, essentially anyone can make their own The Road Movie.


The proliferation of dashboard cameras in Russia gives rise to The Road Movie, a 67-minute compendium of Russian dashboard camera footage that somehow seems fitting for our lives right now.

In a YouTube-prolific age, where anyone can have a video channel and broadcast anything and everything they want to on a daily basis, Dmitrii Kalashnikov’s “documentary” is nothing more than, as end credits confirm, a greatest hits package of some of the most gnarly, surprising, and most popular uploads from dashboard cameras to the ubiquitous video platform.

When the end credits provide “Number of Views” when identifying the videos used for the film, this all feels like a movie anyone could have made. Watching it, it's hard to not think of a few friends we all know could have scoured YouTube, downloaded these videos, and cut them together with a basic movie-editing software program.

The Road Movie is literally nothing but 67 minutes of dashcam footage. Period. Full stop.

Finding common threads through the footage would have given The Road Movie more weight, heft, and sociological importance. Not interested in placing these clips in a greater context, Kalashnikov relies on the element of surprise to engage the viewer.

In that regard, the film seems perfectly crafted for today’s internet-reliant consumer. No clip extends for more than a minute or two, a sickening car crash or bone-crushing accident could arrive at any time, and the film’s uncertainties play every bit as effective as those who find themselves susceptible to cheap jump cuts in horror films.

Some moments and images nonetheless resonate.

One couple drives through a torched, burning forest in what appears to the blackest of night, but turns out to be during the daylight hours. The couple's mystery and amazement of what is happening gives way to the reality of burning eyes, coughing, and the scorching of throats.

Cars get obliterated. A woman runs up to another car, sobbing, climbs on to the hood and cries. Things fall from the sky. Cursing is frequent. A mentally unstable man tries to climb into a car to get at a woman who doesn’t know him. A military tank drives up to a car washing facility and two people rush out to pressure wash it immediately.

There are few, if any, regulations on the use of these cameras in Russia, and their popularity comes from documenting the actions of police in public interactions and for insurance claims. Seemingly, everyone there has one of these things and they apparently have them on all the time. In fact, a recent survey discovered that more than 90% of Russian drivers have dashboard cameras operational in their vehicles.

Honestly, I don’t know if The Road Movie is good, bad, or lies somewhere in the middle, as this is literally us watching 67 minutes of dashboard camera footage on the big screen. That will mean different things to different people, but as intoxicating as this movie can be at times, the reality is that this is a movie any savvy video editor could have pieced together. Kalashnikov's intermittently entertaining and fascinating film proves to also veer towards a hollowness and emptiness and misses the opportunity to deploy this footage in a truly meaningful way.

The Road Movie is precisely what you think it will be. For better or for worse.


Documentary Compilation.

Director: Dmitrii Kalashnikov
Release Date: January 19, 2018