A heartbroken man on a road trip finds himself at a rest stop where he drinks, sleeps, and finds his way in the deserted restroom. Finding himself locked in, he suddenly meets an entity speaking to him through a gloryhole.
Written by Joshua Hull, David Ian McKendry, and Todd Rigney, and directed by Rebekah McKendry, Glorious can only be described as a total whaaaaaaat? This is the kind of film that shouldn’t make sense yet it does. It’s in the bizarro general sub-genre. It’s a crazy set-up that works and it’s a lot to do with the writing and directing fully committing to everything going on. Elder God in a public restroom talking about life, the meaning of life, and asking questions, sure why not. Get this film made in the most visually pleasing style you can, sure why not. Having a fantastic lead cast of two more-than-recognizable faces, sure why not. This film feels like a meeting of all the sure-why-nots in cinema and it works. It works. It’s funny, sad, horrific, and it makes sense. Yeah, it’s hard to describe without giving away too much here.
With its cast of 5 total people, Glorious keeps things intimate in more than one way here. The main part of the film takes place in a locked public restroom, between one man and a disembodied voice. The man called Wes and is played by Ryan Kwanten who does great work of his character, keeping parts of him hidden, not even hinting at anything coming up. His work here is the film basically as he is the one who is alone on screen for a majority of the runtime, talking to someone who isn’t visible. Playing that disembodied voice is J.K. Simmons who couldn’t be more perfect a choice for this. When his voice first comes from that toilet stall, it’s a bit surprising and then it makes sense as things evolve. He’s the right person for the job here, perfectly voicing this being that is hidden for most of the runtime and who could have stayed completely hidden for the entire runtime given how strong Simmons’ performance is. The other three cast members here are Sylvia Grace Crim, Tordy Clark, and André Lamar who play characters one in the past (Crim) and two encountered at the rest stop. Their work is solid, but honestly, this is Kwanten and Simmons’ film.
The film here looks fantastic, it has an energy that fits the story. It’s one of those films that knows what look it wants to have and it goes for it. The cinematography David Matthews by beautiful and colorful (at times), it makes the most of the locations inside and outside of the rest room. There is something incredibly polished about it that gives the film this look that brings it up, that makes it easy to watch. The work here allows every single scene to shine as it needs. The editing by Joseph Shahood works with these images in just the right way.
Glorious is one of those films that sounds nuts and is, but also is a film that is a must-see. The story sounds out there as can be and it’s absolutely worth a watch to see where it goes. There is a bit of extra background given to the lead that does add some to the story, but wasn’t fully needed. The film overall is really entertaining and the 1h 19min runtime flies by.