Friday, April 23, 2010

A review by Janet Lawler

This is a new movie starring Robert Duvall, Sisssy Spacek, Bill Murray and Lucas Black.  It's a folk tale set in the 1930s in a Southern town.  Felix Bush (Duvall) is a backwoods hermit whose only  companion is his shotgun.  Kids throw rocks through his cabin window to taunt him and others dread his appearances in the small town.  Neighbors say he's done "unspeakable things" like kill people... that he's got evil powers... or just simply off his rocker.

The film is currently showing at the Tribeca Film Festival and will be released nationally on July 30th.  It's produced by Sony. Duvall gives a first-rate performance as the recluse who decides to pay for a funeral -- his own -- and invite everyone to come tell their stories about him.  He wants to know what lies they believe (if they have the guts to do so) and if they show up for this bash they get a lottery chance at winning his vast land.

Bill Murray plays the funeral home owner down on his luck and eager to arrange this unconventional party/funeral.  He's looking to make a fast buck off the crazy hermit, but a few twists prevent him from doing so as easily as he intends.  Things get a little complicated.

It's great to see Sissy Spacek up on the big screen again.  She plays a widow, Maddie, a former love of Felix's.  She seems to still hold a sweet spot for him until she discovers his reason for being so tormented -- it hits too close to home.

The movie is by first-time director Aaron Schneider.  The well-crafted script is by Chris Provenzano and C. Gaby Mitchell.  It's a sharply told narrative with some humor thrown in (the scenes between Duvall and Murray are entertaining.)  Lucas Black plays Bill Murray's straight-laced, do-gooder funeral assistant and adds a nice touch to the film.

If you like old-fashioned, solid storytelling with beautiful cinematography, be sure to see Get Low.  The movie hits a few predictable notes but overall it delivers.  The closing confessional scene alone by Robert Duvall is worth seeing.  His anguish is palpable as he tries to find the words to release 40 years of heartache and regret.

Here is the trailer for the movie

Until next time.

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