Sunday, November 3, 2013

Prince Avalanche: Movie Review


   


Just a simple conversation between hilarious characters by great actors.
It's 1988. One year after wildfires destroyed much of central Texas. The explosive opening of raging fires gives way to destruction, and the isolation that destruction can cause, and the loneliness that isolation can cause. It's an appropriate setting for two men alone in the woods, working for the state repairing the roads. 2013

Directed by: David Gordon Green

Screenplay by: David Gordon Green

Starring: Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch

It's the story of two almost brothers-in-law who are as different as night and day, and provides the classic comedy of differences. Alvin (Paul Rudd) is a mature, competent, outdoorsy, hard-working man who promised his girlfriend that he'll hire her brother to give him something to do. Lance (Emile Hirsch) is a younger, immature, lazy guy who dreams of getting back to the big city, as well as girls and sex.

Emile Hirsch and Paul Rudd in PRINCE AVALANCHE, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.
Lance is also in need of a job and is paired with his to-be brother-in-law, Alvin, to repaint highway lines. The entire film is essentially just a conversation between the two men, and it’s great. The dialogue is hilarious and Rudd and Hirsch have a very natural chemistry as the lines seem to have been written for them.

Emile Hirsch and Paul Rudd in PRINCE AVALANCHE,
a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.
The comedy arises from the completely opposite life views that the two men share and how both are completely oblivious to their own flaws and they’re also oblivious to their own failings with women. Rudd’s Alvin has many smart, philosophical things to say and Hirsch’s Lance is just so lacking of anything resembling smarts that he can’t even point out Alvin’s failings which should be obvious to everyone. Alvin has no problem pointing out Lance’s failings but then there’s the whole thing about people in glass houses shouldn’t be throwing stones.

The film raises the question of what is loneliness? Lance hates the isolation, and is arguably just bored with pent-up sexual frustration. Alvin seems like the type of guy who belongs in the wilderness. He knows the job and does it well, and he uses the solitude for education and writing letters to his girlfriend back home. He'd deny it - but his judgements of Lance, awkward conversations about Madison, and an imagined reconstructing of a home life built out of the ashes – suggests loneliness and not happy solitude.

Emile Hirsch in PRINCE AVALANCHE, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.
There's also some interesting imagery of the isolation. We see growth and rejuvenation juxtaposed with the destruction. Animals roaming, flowers growing, people still recovering. It's the type of quiet imagery that suits the quiet and slow character growth and humour found in the movie. “Prince Avalance” is a simple story with a simple rural setting and dialogue that naturally flows through the weathered trees.


Best of 2013