Prince Avalanche

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Mark Walker

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?”).

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48 Responses to “Prince Avalanche”

  1. The Sitter and Your Highness were both very average if not worse but Pineapple Express is probably the best of those sorts of Seth Rogen and gang comedies. Very highly recommended. Prince Avalanche on the other hand I found to be very dull, so little happened and i thought it was marred by stereotypical-indie-film fatigue.

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    • Yeah, I can understand that. This certainly isn’t a film that everyone will enjoy but I found myself really going with it. I invested in the characters and it paid off for me.

      I will check out Pineapple Express as I normally get a laugh from Seth Rogen but I’m really not interested in the other two. Thanks for reading and commenting! 🙂

      Like

  2. Good review Mark. It was a pleasure to see Gordon Green back to his old ways, even if some of the new is mixed into it. However, it still worked because the heart is there, the laughter works in spades, and Hirsch and Rudd seem to really enjoy working together with one another, even if their characters aren’t really supposed to be alike in any way.

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    • Cheers Dan. Yeah I found Rudd and Hirsch very appealing and they really brought their characters to life. Essentially the film is entirely focused on them without much else happening and I thought they both carried it very well. I was particularly impressed by Rudd.

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  3. I’ve never heard of this but I’ll probably give it a shot – I don’t know what I’m going to do the next three nights with Mrs. IPC out of town : (

    Also – when you mention his comedies at the top – I hate them but for some unknown reason, I kind of liked Your Highness….

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    • No Mrs. IPC? You’ll probably be surfing the adult sites then? You won’t have time for proper film watching! 😉

      Yeah, I think I’ll still pass on “Your Highness”, I really don’t like the look or what I’ve heard about that film.

      “Prince Avalanche” isn’t for everyone and goes at quite a slow pace but worth a look if you like that sort of thing (and if you can avert your eyes from those XXX sites) 😉

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  4. I can’t remember if you read my review of this one, but I agree with everything you say here. And yet, I don’t like it as much as you do. I just felt the movie went unfinished; the characters’ journey was not complete. I loved what I saw, but I also longed for more Gordon Green never delivered.

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    • I can’t remember if I read your review either, now. I’ll try and swing by again anyway. I can see your point about it feeling unfinished but I was fairly satisfied with it. They both (or mainly Rudd) kinda knew what he had to do and move on. There was no real need to witness it first person.

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      • That’s an interesting point.

        I guess, in the end, I didn’t get quite the same level of certainty from either character. Plus, the supernatural elements felt just a tad unresolved.

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      • Yeah, I can see where you’re coming from. I found the characters quite appealing so really they could do no wrong for me. There were moments were I wondered if the film was fully achieving its intentions but when it was all over, I was pleased with the results.

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  5. What a strange body of work Green has. I still have yet to catch this but am really eager to do so soon. Excellent as always Mark.

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  6. Loved ‘Pineapple Express’, so I will give this a go even though many thinks it’s dull. Nice Review, Mark.

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  7. I’m not sure I’m gonna love this movie but your last sentence “…an odd and eccentric little odyssey about life, loss and rebirth…” had me intrigued. Great review, Mark!

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    • You’re enjoyment of this could really go either way, Ruth, but that sentence you mention does pretty much sum it up. I probably could have done a VERY concise review and just put that down! 😉

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  8. Popcorn Nights Says:

    Nice review Mark. I hadn’t heard of this but it sounds interesting. I can take or leave Rudd but I like Hirsch, so might get round to it at some point. George Washington has been a film I’ve wanted to see for years, apparently it’s great.

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    • I’ll definitely be checking George Washington out myself at some point Stu. You should give this a go. I found it to be a little treat. Cheers man!

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      • Popcorn Nights Says:

        I’ll add it on Lovefilm – although no idea when I’ll ever get to see it – about 200 titles there, 100 on Netflix and god knows how many sitting on hard drive!

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      • My god, man! You have your work cut out for you. I know how it is with backlogs though. It’s hard work this movie watching business 😉

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  9. Nice review, looks like an interesting movie Mark.

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  10. Nicely done sir! Come across a couple of reviews of this one and looks like the kind of thing I’d like. Hirsch and Rudd certainly sound like an intriguing combo.

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  11. Solid review my friend. Haven’t seen this one. In fact, I’m not sure if I’ve heard of it. It’s not ringing a bell.

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  12. I’m not a fan of Paul Rudd but I love Emile Hirsch. I think he’s really underrated. Might have to check this one out.

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  13. Despite its few intriguing and ambiguous turns, I ultimately found this bad-boy to be a bit of a dull and arduous slog. I expected so much more,

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    • Entirely understandable, man. A lot of people found this quite dull but it actually worked well for me. It’s not a film I would implore people to rush out and see but still one that will find an audience.

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  14. I am the example of someone not enjoying it. Really found it very boring without any payoff, the characters did not manage to interest me enough…except for the truck driver (who I read passed away shortly after filming)

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    • I can completely understand your thoughts here Nostra. If anything I think more people with side with your opinion here. I’m just one of those people that seems to find the beauty in little pieces like this. By the way, did you know that the truck driver was actually Colonel Decker – the nemesis of The A-Team in the tv series? When I seen his face it really took be back about 25 years.

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  15. Ah, excellent review Mark, and I agree with a lot of your points. I had no idea it was a remake!

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    Like

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    Like

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      Like

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