Director: David Gordon Green.
Screenplay: David Gordon Green.
Starring: Paul Rudd, Emile Hirsch, Lance LeGault, Joyce Payne, Gina Grande.
“True love is just like a ghost – people talk about it but very few have actually seen it“.
David Gordon Green is a director who’s work I’m largely unfamiliar with. I’ve never been drawn to the comedies “Pineapple Express“, “Your Highness” or “The Sitter“. However, I’ve heard that he’s done some good dramatic material in “George Washington“. Before this, the only film I had actually seen, that he was involved in, was Jeff Nichols’ “Shotgun Stories” – on which Gordon Green only served as producer. That being said, if “Prince Avalanche” is anything to go by, then I reckon I could find some enjoyment from his previous outings, as well as future endeavours that he might be involved in.
After a forest fire scorches a whole stretch of Texan landscape, two workmen set about remarking the road. Alvin (Paul Rudd) is the thoughtful, intelligent type while Lance (Emile Hirsch) is only concerned with girls and parties and only got the job because Alvin is dating his older sister. As they set to the monotonous work at hand and struggle to connect with each other, they receive news from back home that the women in their lives are no longer interested in them. This causes them both to assess themselves and the choices they’ve made in life.
Gordon Green’s strange little drama is apparently a faithful remake of an Icelandic film called “Either Way” made in 2011. I haven’t actually seen that so I have no prior knowledge in making a comparison. That being said, I still found plenty to enjoy here. I’ve always been partial to, off-kilter, character studies and that’s the best way I can describe this bittersweet and unconventional little film. It’s one of those pieces that refuses to be pigeonholed and suffice to say it’s, at times, strongly meditative and heartfelt, while at others showing a subtle humour and canny observation for the need for human interaction. The characters go nowhere fast and very little happens but, thankfully, the director isn’t going anywhere either and is happy to focus on the strained and awkward relationship between two lost and lonely souls that find some solace in each other. A great example of minimalist cinema that’s held together by a perfectly pitched Paul Rudd (in his most impressive performance yet) and a slightly overweight Emile Hirsch (looking a little like Jack Black). The two of them are great and hold the film together despite some periodic lulls while cinematographer Tim Orr consistently keeps things interesting in his striking choices of imagery. So much so, that the barren landscape becomes a character in itself.
This will certainly not appeal to everyone but personally, I found it to be an odd and eccentric little odyssey about life, loss and rebirth, that has some insightful things to say about our connections with past and present.
Trivia: At the end of the film when Alvin is talking to the old woman in German, the subtitles translate “Would you like to join us on our adventure?”. What he’s actually saying is: “Would you like to join our avalanche?” (“Willst Du bei unserer Lawine mitmachen?”).