Thursday, March 27, 2008

Paranoid Park...

Hey! Alright, now, with Paranoid Park comes the chance to talk about one of my favorite directors, Gus Van Sant. He has done such amazing films ranging from the Oscar winning Good Will Hunting, to the barely seen Gerry and Last Days, and even the shocking and stunning Elephant. Paranoid Park is his newest film, in which he was nominated for Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival, and is up for Best Film and Director at the Independent Spirit Awards. Does it live up to the hype?

This is a story of a young skateboarder, whose life begins to unravel after it is discovered that he has been involved in the accidental death of a security guard. We first meet the main character through a narration, which continues for much of the movie. He is describing his first time to a skate park called Paranoid Park. His friend talks him into it, and they go. Now, this story is not 100% linear, so the next scene is him talking to an investigator, who tells him that they have a skateboard that ties him to the scene of a recent murder. Now, there’s a great story, so I'm not going to ruin it for anyone. So, I'm just going to get in to the review stuff.

This film is gorgeous. It's got GVS's patented long takes, although, here, they are so gorgeous, that it really doesn't affect you. They are not as long as say a Gerry, or as self indulgent as say, Last Days. The cinematographer, Christopher Doyle, is at the top of his game, and this is a perfect fit in his work (In the Mood for Love is probably his best, one of the most gorgeous movies I have ever seen). The story shots are intercut with long tracking shots of the back of people skateboarding, and walking through the park, and really give a great look and feel,almost doc drama style, to the film. The main character, Alex, is played by Gabe Nevins, who Van Sant casted through MySpace, and he does a pretty decent job. All of the roles are done pretty well. The main quibble with this flick is that, in some instances, the shots and filmmaking do seem a little self indulgent and pretentious, but that is just Van Sant's style, so it's not that big of a deal. Also, the narration is a little bit sketchy, and also sometimes feels heavy handed. Like in an opening line, he states that he wasn’t great in creative writing, but he will put everything on paper soon. This just seemed a little heavy handed and really unnecessary. Some of the shots get to be really long and often don’t have the biggest point, but they are just so gorgeous to look at, that none of this is at all a big deal. If you can stand a slower paced film, or are sick with the piles of shit that Hollywood is giving you, than check this out somewhere, or somehow.

go see something good...

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