Saturday, 19 October 2013

Prince Avalanche

Coming perhaps unexpectedly from 'hit and miss' comedy director of ‘Pineapple express’ David Gordon Green, Prince Avalanche, his new release,takes a more subtle approach to humour than his previous 'in your face' style of filmmaking following two isolated road workers in their efforts to repair the surrounding area after a forest fire.

With such a constrictive narrative, Gordon Green allowed little space for comedic movement and rightly so as in a few ways Prince Avalanche is not a comedy at all, sure it has a lot of hilarious moments, but for the most part these moments are simply entwined with the day to day interactions of two hugely likeable, honest characters. This creates for a film which never ceases to put a smile on the audiences face, despite its lack of narrative material it consistently holds interest through its sheer realism and depiction of people in an atmosphere riddled with cinder and contrasting wondrous greenery. With the cinematography to match any ‘cinematic spectacle’ Prince Avalanche often feels like a nature documentary, with its truly inspiring shots of nature continuing the struggle through a beaten up area of collapsed forestry. This certainly builds the themes of the film sufficiently but perhaps lectures for a little too long; lasting for an unnecessary duration of time they occasionally felt like they were simply filling time until we revisited the two protagonists.

Alvin and Lance, the films two lead characters played by Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch are absolutely fantastic effortlessly displaying a realistic relationship of two people almost forced into friendship. This chemistry allows for the film to offload its messages and themes without being even marginally whimsical at any point, which is impressive considering the almost kitsch situation of the two characters and their personal lives. Gordon Green orchestrates his comedic lines with precision and realism, being inserted into comments at the most appropriate times, with the performances of both leads making the lines all the more hilarious until eventually their sheer screen presence paints a smile across your face.

With the plot unable to run its simplicity throughout the whole 90 minutes, new strands are added to the tale towards the end and throughout making it all the more interesting. These new elements are ambiguous in there meaning and sometimes slightly puzzling adding a wholesome undertone that leaves you thinking, acting as a relevant sub-plot to the films central narrative. Prince avalanche is a consistently surprising and heart-warming film which zigzags across the linear line of filmmaking, displaying two outstanding central performances and a tightly woven narrative, Prince Avalanche is a total joy to watch.

9/10- A refreshing and truly touching view at the lives of two begrudging friends.

Calum Russell  

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