November 7, 2013

Prince Avalanche

David Gordon Green, 2013

Responsible and self sufficient Alvin (Paul Rudd) and unsophisticated Lance (Emile Hirsch) are two road workers who tediously paint the yellow lines on the Texas pavement after wildfires ravaged the state. At night they camp on the roadside, and they occasionally have the opportunity to travel to town to socialize and gather supplies before they have to get back to the grind.

David Gordon Green pushes the quirk in this minimalistic limited storytelling piece that at times feels like a love letter to Wes Anderson. There are points in the film where it almost feels like a car may pull up and Bill Murray may get out. It's a piece that's largely filled with abstraction and vulnerability. Some may not be so satisfied with images of a mustached Paul Rudd dancing by himself with a fishing pole in hand. Others may credit him for taking a risk with another independent role. He certainly puts himself out there as the dorky outcast just looking for some validation. He doesn't hide his love for Madison, and continues to write her letters like he has gone off to war. And perhaps he has, in his mind. But strangely there's not much urgency to finish his work and return to the general population. Without her presence she feels very imaginary. Alvin is searching for something while he is isolated in those woods. Perhaps he is rebuilding like the world around him. And Lance is fighting his own kind of war as well. Hormones raging, he returns to town seeking short term flings and without which leaves him feeling empty. Emile Hirsch delivers a particularly impressive performance as the inexperienced oafy hand to Alvin. The humor in his character is subtle but memorable. The dynamic between Alvin and Lance is unstable, and why wouldn't it be? Basically opposites stuck together in the middle of nowhere. At times hating their job, other times indulging in the freedom. But at the end of the day their companionship is going to be more fulfilling than their monotonous daily grind. They both have something to offer one another.

Green took a risk with making the film as it won't appeal to all crowds. The fortunate thing is it feels like he succeeds in what he set out to do. The theme of self-discovery while slowly walking the Texas pavement almost gives it a Wizard of Oz feel. At times the film drags very much like the painting machine they push slowly through the day, and at times it feels like it circles in one spot. It could certainly be a better film if there was more meat on the bones. But there's certainly something here worth watching.

No comments:

Post a Comment