Dir: Gus Van Sant
Two words: Severed Corpse. No, it's not the GWAR song, but what is ostensibly the crux of Gus Van Sant's Paranoid Park.
What Van Sant is really interested in here, though, are not the gory
details (and they are surprisingly VERY gory) of the death, around which
everything in the film revolves, but once again, the faces, backs and
showering bodies of high school teens. Actually not as creepy as that sounds.
PP, he mines the same territory and style he explored in the superb Elephant and the underrated Last Days,
though Van Tarr gets a bit lost in this one. I don't know if it's the
script, or the oft-horrendous non-actors' non-acting, but the film feels a
bit flimsy. As usual the cinematography is gorgeous,
and there are some beautiful instances of soundtrack and film meshing
synchronously. But overall, fans of the
director will probably feel cheated by the threadbare plot and what
feels like two movies in one: the first half's experimental-film feel
cut with grainy slo-mo super-8 footage of skaters riding "Paranoid Park"
(actually Portland's Burnside, and what are seemingly outtakes from Fruit of the Vine, Northwest, and Tent City);
and the second half, which focuses more on the murder mystery, the
implications of which are sadly hard to care about.
If he had have
picked one side and ran with it, there could have been an excellent film
in there; as it stands, Van Sant has made a mildly interesting, but
frustratingly flawed one.