Monday, August 5, 2013

Review: Prince Avalanche

Release date: August 9, 2013
Running time: 94 minutes
Starring: Paul Rudd, Emile Hirsch, Lance LeGault, Joyce Payne
Who to see it with: Someone looking for a simple, funny bromance


Prince Avalanche is based on 2011 Icelandic film Either Way (Á annan veg). Loner Alvin (Rudd) is doing his girlfriend a favor by allowing her dopey brother Lance (Hirsch) work with him during the summer of 1988, painting lines and installing signs along a highway in a wildfire-ravaged forest. Lance's family hopes the experience will help him grow up, but his aimlessness and juvenile interests don't mesh well with Alvin's serious attitude.
PA is a simple, funny dramedy, made up of lengthy conversations and a few moments of quiet exploration. Only four actors have lines, and every scene takes place in the calm, woodsy setting. When characters venture into town, the camera doesn't follow them; you hear about it when they return. Rudd and Hirsch's characters both feel real. It's fun to watch them struggle to bond while stuck together in the wilderness. Hirsch is the funnier one, explaining his complicated girl troubles and awkwardly questioning Alvin. Rudd is slightly more affecting as his somewhat deluded, older but still immature superior. LeGault is great as a kooky truck driver who stops by to provide alcoholic diversions.
The scenes are divided by nice shots of the forest landscape. One shot gives the impression that the story will explore a theme of environmental pollution but, fortunately, the story remains focused on the relationship between the leads. The plot briefly takes an unusually dramatic turn when Alvin encounters a mysterious woman, but their conversation is moving and sort of fits the story's meditative mood. PA's simplicity is pleasant and somewhat refreshing, but the dialogue and scenery are not great enough to make it a must see. It's the best work director David Gordon Green has done in awhile, exploring the goofy brotherly bonding seen in Pineapple Express within a more realistic context. Prince Avalanche may not leave much of a lasting impression, but you'll enjoy getting to know its odd couple leads.

Rent it.

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