He Went That Way Review: Elordi and Quinto’s Indie Movie Falls Flat

You know how people will watch a movie solely because their favorite actor is in it? That is how I fell into the trap of watching He Went That Way, the 2023 crime drama film directed by Jeffrey Darling and written by Evan M. Wiener. It stars Jacob Elordi and Zachary Quinto, so of course, you would assume that this crime thriller would be a promising indie flick, but it fell flat.  

The Story of He Went That Way

He Went That Way is set in 1964 and based on the true story of well-known animal trainer Dave Pitts’s encounter with serial killer Larry Lee Ranes. The movie is inspired by the book Luke Karamazov by Conrad Hilberry. It follows Jim (Zachary Quinto), a middle-aged man with a career centered around monkey-centric family entertainment. However, this is no longer popular enough to bring Jim real profits, so now he drives around looking for gigs. 

One day, he picks up a 19-year-old hitchhiker, Bobby (Jacob Elordi) on Route 66. I immediately assumed he gave this guy a ride because Jim had an initial attraction to him. However, as I watched the movie, I realized that is untrue. Bobby says that he is going to Chicago to reconnect with an ex-girlfriend, but it turns out he really wants to rob and murder Jim. Serial killing is his whole thing. Bobby lurks on the abandoned roads in the American Midwest, murdering anyone kind enough to offer him a ride.  

Bobby robs him, takes his wallet and ring, and asks Jim for a ride to Chicago. Personally, I would be appalled that you had the nerve to rob me and STILL ask me to take you to Chicago so you could do it to someone else. Jim says he will drive him to Chicago if he can get his ring back and if Bobby does not hurt his chimp, Spanky. Given the threat of murder, it makes sense that Jim agreed to take Bobby to Chicago still. Bobby has made it clear that he is willing to kill to get what he wants. 

The duo goes on a tense cross-country drive where Bobby utilizes psychological torture at the drop of a hat. But as they continue this twisted road trip, we get more information about what drives the characters. Bobby reveals that he became a serial killer due to the childhood trauma of his father physically assaulting his mother throughout his childhood. He never had a strong father figure, so Jim takes it upon himself to fill that gap in his life. 

He Went That Way is not as interesting as it thinks it is 

In all sincerity, this movie is not as interesting as it thinks it is. Although Elordi and Quinto are both talented actors, the relationship between the two men is surface-level. The movie is trying to be a character study about two misfits, but it is not that. When you read the synopsis of this movie, you would think it would be a suspenseful, prickly friend movie, but it falls flat with nothing interesting going on. It doesn’t deliver on what it is sold as. 

He Went That Way promised a crime thriller with a homoerotic undertone. Unfortunately, there is only a hint of sexual attraction between these two men, but it yields nothing of interest. And I could not be more disappointed, especially given Elordi’s recent role as Felix Catton in Emerald Fennell’s Saltburn.

He Went That Way lacks a strong emotional core for the story and is missing humor, too. This movie could have been a resurrection of monkey hijink movies, but Spanky, the chimpanzee in question, doesn’t rise to that level. The costume they use for Spanky is impressive, but you can still tell that a person (Phoenix Notary) is in that suit. Using a real chimpanzee for this film would have made it 10 percent more interesting. And for a movie not working with a lot, that  

On the surface, He Went That Way could be taken as an attempt by  Elordi to shift into more serious roles. The real-life story is terrifying, raw, and grounded, and the movie is none of these things. The character dynamics between Bobby and Jim feel strong at the film’s beginning but sag in the middle and never recover for what is ultimately an unsatisfying ending. 

Despite this film being a road trip movie with a ton of potential, it doesn’t fulfill that, especially considering that it is based on real-life fare. It is a crazy, weird story that wastes Elordi’s and Quinto’s talents. Skip He Went That Way when going through the streaming carousel. Instead, I recommend watching Lizzie with Chloë Sevigny and Kristen Stewart. It’s a psychological thriller that explores Lizzie Borden’s life instead of this stale road movie.  

He Went That Way is now streaming.

What do you think? Are you going to watch He Went That Way? Leave reply to us on X @MoviesWeTexted to share your thoughts.

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