Fueled by a lush and energetic soundtrack that captures the whirlwind of young romance, Satellite is a New York love story about two idealists who ditch their dead-end office jobs and take off on their motorcycle for the great unknown. Kevin and Ro (appealingly played by Karl Geary and Stephanie Szostak) are smart and open-eyed as they go down the rabbit hole together in search of wonderland, having many adventures along the way. These romantics swear never to lie to one another, but as they get to know each other they have the slow and difficult realization that sometimes the truth can be shattering and that leaving a shitty life behind can be great, but when the money starts running out that also leads to a new road of trials.
Filmmaker Jeff Winner maintains a jaunty freewheeling tone, always keeping the viewer by the side of his outlaw lovers, and by maintaining that closeness he creates a bond between audience and character so taut we don’t lose sympathy when these guys start rampantly breaking the law. And since Satellite avoids neat moral judgments, it’s difficult to say whether Ro’s conflicted relationship with her father justifies the way she pushes Kevin’s buttons at times—or whether Kevin’s nice guy demeanor deservedly masks some of his less wholesome secret desires. In other words, Satellite is about the idealism of love and how that is placed within the complex and contradictory real world. Those two states of consciousness, the ideal and the real, are the universe that Kevin and Ro float through.
Satellite is emotionally complex and, at the same time, captures the energetic fun of taking your sweetheart on all the rides at the carnival. Sometimes that feels dangerous, but it makes you hold on to each other all the tighter. If there’s a better independent date movie out there right now, I haven’t seen it.