The 27 Club is a study in sadness told in flashbacks during a cross-country road trip. Elliot (Joe Anderson) is reeling from the death of best friend and bandmate Tom (James Forgey) just after Tom’s 27th birthday. The two grew up like brothers in a dysfunctional home before finding success as the band Finn.
As Elliot starts on his road trip from LA to Joplin, Missouri, to take care of his dead friend’s last request, the alcohol, drugs and shock of losing his best friend prove too much. Hungover, he stumbles into a grocery store; following an altercation, the cashier calms a flustered Elliot. In turn, Elliot offers the cashier $10,000 to drive him “east.”
Elliot is strikingly reminiscent of a young, sleep-deprived Kurt Cobain while the straight-laced, nameless driver looks like a young Leonard Nimoy. For the late-bloomer driver, this journey becomes his coming-of-age experience. The two merely co-exist as Elliot wrestles his demons. Anderson’s Elliot emotes with his haunting expression—mirroring the pain and turmoil from within. It isn't until they pick-up hitchhiker Stella (Eve Hewson, daughter of U2’s Bono) that the two begin to bond. Although she recognizes Elliot from Finn, she doesn’t immediately acknowledge nor share the information.
The 27 Club contains little crescendo and ends quietly. While soulful, it feels like a freshman film effort, which doesn’t harm the story. The emotional journey through Elliot’s mourning is symbolically interlaced with scenic American landscapes to nibble on.
Writer/Director: Erica Dunton
Run time: 84 minutes