Thursday, March 27, 2008

Parnoid Park - Movie Review

Paranoid Park (R) 90 minutes B-
The Sk8ter Dairies

Starring Gabe Nevins, Daniel Liu, Taylor Momsen, Jake Miller, and Lauren McKinney

Paranoid Park is a highly touted indie film that spent most of 2007 on the festival circuit (Cannes, Toronto, New York, Vienna, etc...). Last month it was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards including Best Feature. It's directed by Gus Van Sant (My Own Private Idaho, Good Will Hunting, and more) and based on the novel by Blake Nelson.

The film is an intriguing piece of cinema about an unsolved murder and a young man’s emotional and psychological odyssey. Alex (Gabe Nevins) is a fresh faced high school student dealing with his parent’s divorce, peer pressure from friends, a girlfriend he doesn’t love, and a life changing secret that he can’t tell anyone.

In an effort to make sense of it all, Alex journals, and through his entries we come to understand the enormity of the situation. This is a wonderful character study, and a brilliant move by Van Sant to use a majority of nonprofessional actors.

One of the drawbacks to this film was the use of varies camera styles- VHS, grainy Super-8, and 35mm. These styles are effective during some parts of the film, but ultimately I found it more distracting than artistic.

Overall, this film stuck with me more than I thought it would. It felt a little slow at times, and artistically it felt a little forced... but I'm recommending this for the enduring characters and the intriguing story.

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