Friday, February 13, 2009

Gerry: A Tale of Two Gerrys

Gus Van Sant is the flyest cat on the block. He's been around since the mid-80s. I always forget that. I didn't even know the exact year was 1985 until today. The 90s + 2000 were good to him. "Good Will Hunting", "Finding Forrester", real family-friendly films that left everyone feeling a little bit better about life, and a fair bit more wholesome. Unfortunately for him financially his later films were extraordinary pieces of art, and utter box office failures. 2008's "Milk" shows him heading back to his more accessible side, but it's obvious he'll maintain his darker streak.

Of his "Death Trilogy", including "Gerry", "Elephant", and "Last Days", I have now seen two. "Gerry" I watched today. All of these are handled by cinematographer Harris Savides. Same goes for "Milk". He makes the world look like you're seeing it for the first time in your life, and grasping how beautiful it is. He mixes sharp focus and out-of-focus, dark and light, close-up and long shot, melding everything together, bringing out the unifying qualities between each contrast in stunning clarity... I could write this whole review like a 'thank you' letter to him. 

Sprawling shots of the desert, extremely long takes of Gerry (Matt Damon) and Gerry (Casey Affleck), adorable and hilarious conversations between the two, incredible, amazing, remarkable looking everything. This movie was great. It's not given all that much praise because it has no deep story, and is very long for what story it has. Two young men get lost in the desert. That's it. No subtext. No backstory. They get lost. And wander around. And it's amazing.

"Gerry" is meditative. 

It was an experience is what it was. I let the film wash over me. It's extremely visual, and audial, and would be terrible to watch if you're looking for a lot of character interactions. It reminded me of how it felt to watch "2001: A Space Odyssey", which I just watched last week. Except all of this could have happened in real life. I connected to it more. And it wasn't 2 hours +. That helped. The shots were long, and deliberate, but never too long, or over deliberate, if that's possible. 

This movie RUUUUULES!!!! That's it.

 - Eric T. Voigt, Didn't Know How to Wrap That Up

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