Prince Avalanche Screen 18 articles

Prince Avalanche

2013

Prince Avalanche Poster
  • Initial antipodes, they bond over their respective wimmin trouble to release their (not so) inner jerks. The premise, taken from a 2011 Icelandic film, is reminiscent of Kelly Reichardt but the direction is too broad for the material and the cinematography too pretty.

  • Perfectly sums up all the issues that have left Gordon Green stuck somewhere between an underachieving, over-influenced indie auteur and a too-talented comedy hack: heavy reliance on touches gleaned from other auteurs, shallow character analysis posing as profound introspection, affectionate ribbing of dumb, folksy rubes to lighten a mood that wasn’t even very heavy to begin with.

  • You’ll love the film when it’s being quiet; alas, it begins a slow slide toward cutesy meeting of the minds, which, even in these capable actors’ hands, comes off like an indie cliché. Eventually, they bond, revealing vulnerabilities and having a laugh about them. In that sense, it’s a hopeful story, but we can’t be blamed for expecting something with a molten core.

  • Shot outside, it feels as hermetic as “The Iceman Cometh,” with much awkward over-acting on two separate fronts. Limited moments of visual majesty don’t prevent this from being a tone-deaf sprawl of riverside indulgence and inebriated clowning.

  • Prince Avalanche is his first film to suggest an oddball missing link between the two approaches—fussy bromance and homoerotic jokiness meet somber Americana—as well as his first since Snow Angels (2007) to aim for seriousness, and unsurprisingly, it never settles on a consistent tone. Through counterfeit Terrence Malick-isms and plenty of lifts from the playbook of Gus Van Sant’s Gerry, Green attempts to elevate bogus macho frustrations to the level of existential poetry.

  • Green constructs both characters as a series of tics and gestures, pseudo-Hartley dialogue repetition, and an attentiveness to mundane labor that in no way trusts an audience to attend to its subtleties. (An overbearing score makes sure we know the film knows that, like, painting lines on asphalt is stupid.)

  • As a piece of writing, the film seldom offers the surprises it perhaps should have done, even though Green does make the extremely radical and triumphantly antisocial choice to suggest that strong liquor and lots of it can sometimes be a force for good in testing emotional times.

  • DGG's instincts are too commercial for this: the camera moves for no reason, there's way too much music - the silence and majesty of Nature don't get much room to breathe - and the all-out bonding in the final acts ruins the tension of the early scenes (which are really promising).

  • While Green punctuates the film with poetic interludes of abstract imagery, and even throws in a hint of the supernatural, in the form of an old woman hovering around her burnt down house, the film’s real, if modest, strong point comes in its impeccably detailed rendering of the late 1980s, right down to Hirsch’s yellow and green striped gym socks.

  • What we love in Gordon Green is his sympathetic depiction of the confusion, sexual or otherwise, of characters moored in the ambiguous confines of a small town in mid-America. Here he refines and tightens his style, creating a no-exit situation outdoors, with a minimalist interchange between two men... The psychological accuracy of these male portraits comes from the way they move into the space, rather than being dependent on dialogue – as a result, we care for them deeply.

  • How can one be alone? How can one be with others? These are simple questions that Prince Avalanche has a ball confronting, and Green appears to be just as energized by the evocative setting as he is by the emotionally stunted characters he's working with.

  • This story is about both the meaning of work and the generation that will follow that of the film's two protagonists. Prince Avalanche, in its quiet, blink-and-you'll-miss-it, vaguely Chekhovian way, points forward to a generation of the present, in its 30s and 40s, cast onto its own recognizance by an ailing economy, often self-employed, in a state of simultaneous freefall and perpetual opportunism--and yet, somehow, adapting to its circumstances.

  • [Prince Avalanche has] a grand metaphorical aura strengthened not only by Green's poetic sensibility, but also by the splendors of usual Green collaborator Tim Orr's widescreen cinematography, finding emotionally resonant bits of visual beauty in even the most charred and barren of settings. For those who were somehow waiting for the artistic apotheosis of the bromance, Prince Avalanche is it, for better and for worse.

  • It's in these suspended moments of reflection that Prince Avalanche reveals itself to be a lovely story of otherworldly souls moving through the forest in tandem, all searching for the solace necessary to move on. Roving shots of the countryside only add to this sense of shared melancholy and spiritual restlessness, casting a beautiful spell in the process.

  • Prince Avalanche has more in common with Green’s earlier work as a director which earned him comparisons to Terrence Malick—All the Real Girls (03), Undertow (04)—than with his later, more commercial comedies, Pineapple Express (08) and The Sitter (11). His new film’s slow pace, meandering dialogue, and snark-free sense of humor contribute to its pleasing and distinctive feel.

  • Avalanche is more melancholy and understated in its silliness thanEastbound, but it’s still hilarious. In Avalanche, Green is finding his equilibrium, the right ratio of levity and tragedy. It’s not a throwback, but evidence of a new sensibility.

  • The simple, non-sequitur-laden dialogue at first has a terse naturalism, but then begins to assume a more absurdist quality... As the movie goes from Hemingway to Beckett, Alvin and Lance go from feeling like two distinct, bickering characters to something more elemental, like two sides of the same self – an adult male meeting his younger self, perhaps.

  • David Gordon Green somehow brings together the poetic sensibility of his independent art movies (e.g., George Washington, Undertow) and the humorous lowbrow non sequiturs of his studio comedies (Pineapple Express,The Sitter); the results are one of a kind and often weirdly moving.

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