Paranoid Park (France-US, 2007)

They are not out to get us

They are not out to get us

I found it difficult to care for the characters in this film, usually a fatal problem for a movie unless it’s a popcorn roller-coaster pic. It’s Gus van Sant’s use of non-professionals, ranging for okay to terrible, that alienated me from the film; this isn’t a problem in itself as he did the same in the brilliant Elephant (2003). Chris Doyle’s cinematography is, as usual, fabulous and though Li Rain’s skateboarding camerawork is impressive, I got bored of it rapidly; clearly another problem for me.

I’m not sure what the point was of framing the ‘murder mystery’ narrative with the protagonist’s retelling. It seemed as if it were going to be some postmodern ‘cleverness’ but, if it was, I didn’t get it.

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3 Responses

  1. I thought it was very easy to care for the characters, and I couldn’t disagree more with you about the casting, it was great.

    I find Van Sant annoying at times, especially when he attempts to recreate youth (it just doesn’t work), but Paranoid Park is excellent.

  2. […] nicklacey added an interesting post today on Paranoid Park (France-US, 2007) « Nick Lacey on filmsHere’s a small readingParanoid Park (France-US, 2007). Posted on April 23, 2009 by nicklacey. They are not out to get us. I found it difficult to care for the characters in this film, usually a fatal problem for a movie unless it’s a popcorn roller-coaster … […]

  3. I think Gus Van Sant is fairly unremarkable director he has never made a film that has been great or really stood out with other film works made by other directors from his generation. Most recently Milk, which was not a good movie despite a handful of fairly good performances but those performances weren’t crafted down to his direction but because he chose all talented actors. He has made plenty of terrible films including Last Days which is utterly boring and that pointless and stupid remake of Psycho. The only film of his that I have enjoyed is Good Will Hunting which is mainly because of Robin Williams who makes the film more accessible.

    Another thing that mainly bothers me about him is when he is discussing his films, he is never enthusiastic and he always sounds boring and I think some of his personality rubs off on his films.

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