Monday, February 28, 2011

Get Low (2010)

Overall Score: 7.75/10

Remorse can be a debilitating thing. An overwhelming feeling that no matter how the events unfolded, you could have done better, you can have changed things. The never ending spiral into the 'if only I had done this' mentality from which there is no escape. You spend enough time there and soon enough your mind may melt away in a manner that would make Nolan's limbo seem like a weekend resort.

Felix Bush (Robert Duvall) knows more about remorse than most of us can imagine, but damned if he's going to tell you about it. Hiding away for over forty years in a small forrest cottage well off the traveled path, he's become something of a local legend. From the violent to the mysterious, and even downright mythical, Felix has become a focal point for gossip and rumors in the region. And now, nearing the end of his life, that's something he wishes to stop.

Felix knows all too well the personal and lonely nature that comes with a life spent in isolation. And he's tired of all the stories that come along with such an existence. In his eyes it is time to come out with his story. To admit why he chose life the way he did, and accept the reprocussions that come with them. First breaking onto our screens as 'Boo' Radley in the timeless classic To Kill a Mockingbird, few actors have proven their worth over and over again as much as Robert Duvall. Borrowing a page from the Gregory Peck school of acting, Duvall has found a way to display range, maturity, and strength without forfeiting that sense of frailty that makes his characters vulnerable.

Now, with a supporting cast that spans Oscar nominations and experience, Duvall is geared up to shine. Murray is charming in the stereotypical 'sales-man' whose experience adds a bit of comic relief to the idea of a living-funeral. Sissy Spacek is as delightful as one would expect from so seasoned an actress. Then you have Lucas Black, whom I've long since held a fondness for ever since Sling Blade (yes, I'm even letting Tokyo Drift slide). Not to mention Bill Cobbs who ought to win an Oscar on persona power alone (not to mention Nino Brown slaying).

Add it all together, and the stage was set beyond compare for the coming out party of first time director Aaron Shcneider. And, simply put, he does a good enough job. That's really all you can say. Get Low is a film that changes gear more times than you can shake a stick at. Often interspursing moments of mystery and tension in an effort of keeping the plot interesting, but having no real intention of paying off the investment.

The more we learn about Felix, the more mysteries writing team Chris Provenzano and C. Gaby Mitchell add on just to keep us guessing. All the while, never really bothering to stick to one plot point for any extended period of time. The characters are fun, fresh, and exciting, but there's always a feeling of "why did they include that?" going on.

Leaving much at the feet of Schneider to hold it all together. For a first time feature length director, Schneider shows a great deal of promise. A long time cinematographer, Schneider handles shot composition and structure beautifully. In places where the story struggles, Schneider compensates appropriately. In places where the writing is on the mark, he steps back and lets the actors do their thing. The result is an enjoyable 2 hours of drama with moments of solid comedy, but always the best of intentions.

Film Credits
Directed By: Aaron Schneider
Written By: Chris Provenzano & C. Gaby Mitchell

5 better thoughts:

Jess said...

I just saw this on Saturday and really liked it. Surprised it didn't get any Oscar attention, but I was glad at least it got noticed at the Independent Spirit awards.

Castor said...

Haven't seen it yet but I remember Red raving about Robert Duvall's performance. Was it Oscar worthy?

John Gilpatrick said...

I loved this movie when I first saw it in theaters and really ought to revisit it. The story was definitely unfocused, but I kind of liked how it didn't fit comfortably in one genre. And Duvall, of course, was exceptional.

Univarn said...

@Jess Well, it's the kind of film that gets to the Oscar bubble and flatlines against bigger names pushing other stuff.

@Castor It was very close, need to see Biutiful before I can appropriately answer that.

@JohnG My problem wasn't that it didn't fit with one genre, but it didn't fit with one narrative - making it a bit shaky to follow and unfulfilling.

Rich said...

Duvall's performance was absolutely Oscar worthy, and while I was disappointed he missed the cut, it was a very tight year.

Uni, I think you mean Boo Radley, not Bradley.

Related Posts with Thumbnails