Prince Avalanche ***1/2

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“Prince Avalanche” is a return to form for director “David Gordon Green”. Green started out making truly amazing films like “George Washington” and “All The Real Girls” but lately he has been stuck making dreary studio comedies like “Your Highness” and “The Sitter”.

This movie finds the talented director taking the minimalist approach. The story is about two road workers played by Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch, who are at different points in their lives emotionally, who go through a series of emotional episodes with each other. Ultimately they bond and form one of the more odd friendships that I have seen in the movies.

Rudd plays Alvin, a man who seems to be constantly trying to find inner peace by constantly taking jobs that put him in to isolation from his girlfriend. Hirsch plays Lance, who is his girlfriends little brother. Lance lives for his weekends chasing girls and partying. But he is about to receive news that will change his life.

Alvin and Lance work painting lines down a road. This specific area has recently been the victim of a major forrest fire. Along the way they encounter people who have lost their entire homes and lively hoods in this disaster. This adds a sort of undercurrent of sadness that kind of makes their personal issues seem pale in comparison.

Wikipedia says that Green shot this movie in secret. It was only announced after it’s completion which is rare. It is almost like Green was making some sort of covert escape from the big studios. I for one am glad he is back. Even from a visual stand point it is nice to see him creating visual poetry as opposed to excess.

After a summer that has been almost over filled with big action spectacles, it is nice to simply engage two characters on a personal level and watch as they grow together a little bit.

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