© 2007 by C.E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.

One of the really nice perks of being a film critic
is that occasionally you get to see a movie in its
earliest stages of distribution. Sometimes this
occurs at a film festival, sometimes the movie
maker will send along a copy for review
purposes. This sometimes allows the reviewer
to champion a work -- hopefully what I write
might encourage someone to seek out the film.
Such is the case with
debut feature of writer-director-actor Mike Reilly.

Based on a true story,
centers on promising college quarterback Elliot
(Reilly) who has sustained an on-field head
injury. While he seems to physically recover,
there is a lingering side effect. He is unable to
perform sexually -- which puts a crimp in his
nascent relationship with Anna (Julia Anderson),
another student who moonlights as a stripper.

The crux of the film really centers on the
relationship as Anna and Elliot negotiate the
difficult terrain of just what his performance
problems mean. Eventually, Elliot goes to
various doctors seeking an answer, but he is
met with varying degrees of suspicion (was he
using steroids?), condescension and humiliation
(from a female doctor as well as at a sperm
bank) and frustration (at the limits of the
medical profession). There's built in irony as
Elliot is also a pre-med student as well as star
football player.

As his relationship with Anna goes through
various permutations of trust, frustration, and
eventually acceptance, Elliot runs the gamut
from fear and anxiety to rage and despair.

When the promise of some hope is offered by
one physician, the treatment comes with a hefty
price tag, which leaves Elliot with a major life

Reilly anchors the movie with a beautifully
modulated performance. He captures the various
nuances of moods that Elliot undergoes and
makes the audience empathize with his plight.
He also has wonderful chemistry with Anderson
who invests what could have been a clichéd
character with dignity and intelligence.

As director and writer, Reilly also deserves
kudos for tackling the subject of sexual
dysfunction in a manner that is respectful and
enlightening. He also refused to take an easy
out and left a few questions unanswered.

ROAD TO VICTORY, which is currently playing
the festival circuit, is a terrific movie and marks
the debut of an intriguing talent. I am anxious
to see what Reilly tackles in his encore.

Rating:               B
Running time:      99 mins.

            Viewed on DVD
Mike Reilly as Elliot and Julia Anderson as Anna in
© 2007 RTV Pictures, LLC. All Rights Reserved.