Monday, September 6, 2010

Review - Get Low

It's often been posed what a grand thing it would be to attend one's own funeral, but in Aaron Schneider's Get Low, we see that perhaps the reflection and reconciliation inspired by such a ceremony would be a difficult and painful experience, especially for the deceased.

Such is the case for Felix Bush, a fabled hermit of Tennessee folklore, who supposedly threw his own funeral party back in the 30s. As portrayed by the great Robert Duvall, Bush is more than just a crusty old recluse. He is a remorseful soul seeking not redemption, but forgiveness, yet is too ashamed and afraid to ask for it. One character (beautifully played by Sissy Spacek) says of Bush, at one point, that he's “ a cave – going deeper and deeper...”, and the same can be said of Duvall's performance. He handles his character's exposition as only a pro like himself can, peeling back layers of heart and mind as revelations about his past gradually trickle in.

By Scheider's direction, the film is a quaint and unassuming one. His editing is a tad punchy, but he gets the pace just right. He also oversees a fine production crew who help evoke a lovely recreation of time and place. Special mention to Julie Weiss, who's costumes (a nice assortment of plaid, striped, and argyle Depression era tweeds and wools) are perfectly character specific, and deserving of awards recognition.

Same goes for Duvall's performance, of course, but that comes down to whether Sony Picture Classics is willing to invest in a sufficient campaign. It also depends on the level of Best Actor competition coming out of the woodwork in the next few months.

*** out of ****

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