The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Prince Avalanche | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Prince Avalanche

Remake of 2011 Icelandic movie 'Either Way'.

Directed by: David Gordon Green
Starring: Paul Rudd, Emile Hirsch, Lance LeGault

Texas, 1988. In the aftermath of a deadly and widespread forest fire, thirty-something Alvin (Rudd) and his girlfriend's younger brother Lance (Hirsch) travel the road, repainting the faded yellow lines. At first their relationship is terse, a clash of personalities. Alvin is philosophical, at home alone in nature, appreciating silence while Lance is restless and impetuous, seemingly only interested in getting his "little man squeezed" back in town. As they spend more time together, however, an awkward bond forms between the pair. Along the way they repeatedly encounter an elderly truck driver (LeGault) who proffers them with alcohol, and a mysterious lady who seemingly only they can see.
David Gordon Green began his prolific career just over a decade ago with a series of melancholy indie dramas. In recent years he's become synonymous with lowbrow comedies starring the likes of Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill and James Franco. It's a struggle to think of another film-maker whose career has taken such an abrupt shift in tone and as we made our way into the screening I overheard another reviewer ask aloud "Which David Gordon Green are we getting with this one?". The answer is actually a combination of both Gordon Greens. A loose remake of a low budget Icelandic movie from just a couple of years ago, (Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson's 'Either Way'), 'Prince Avalanche' is the closest the director has come to his thoughtful early dramas yet is peppered with odd moments of lowbrow humor (there's even a fart gag) that would sit more comfortably in the type of movies Paul Rudd usually stars in.
The structure of the film resembles a movie Gordon Green produced in 2007, Craig Zobel's little seen but worthwhile black comedy 'Great World of Sound', a similar tale of two men whose job throws them together on the open road. 'Prince Avalanche' lacks that film's subtle wit and feels as directionless as its existentially confused protagonists. There's far too much dialogue heard here, much of it mundane, and you can't help but share Rudd's desire for silence. It's the movie's few silent moments that show how good a film-maker Green can be, in particular a sequence that brilliantly expresses Rudd's love of spending time alone in the woods, beautifully scored with an avant-garde track from the band Explosions in the Sky. The few brief appearances from LeGault's half-mad trucker provide a welcome dose of warmth, as does a touching scene involving an elderly woman rummaging through the ashes of her burnt out home for some proof of her existence. Most of the movie, though, is as mundane as its protagonists' task and, while that's likely the point, it makes for neither an involving or engaging watch.

Eric Hillis