Friday, July 26, 2019


The Mountain (2018) - Alverson
Director Rick Alverson's The Mountain is a fresh breath of air among Summer sensory overlord movies season. From its measured framing in Academy ratio, muted color palette, minimalist period production design, old timey big band jazz ballads to most actors mumbling their lines, there is something inexplicably comforting about the film, like a foggy Saturday morning in November.

Shy and reserved Andy (Tye Sheridan) lives with his old figure skating coach dad (Udo Kier) and drives a zamboni in the skating link where his father coaches. His mother is in a mental institution. His scope of the world is limited to his small town surroundings. All he can do really is to daydream about girls in skates. After his father's sudden death on the link, Andy is approached by Dr. Wallace Fiennes (Jeff Goldblum) who specializes in lobotomy. Wallace was his mom's physician and possibly responsible for her lobotomy as well. Traveling from asylum to asylum, performing shock treatment and lobotomy, Dr. Wally is in need of portrait photographer and asks Andy to Join him.

The Mountain is a peculiar film about self discovery and the price of freedom. Its somber tone is only broken by the presence of Denis Lavant, a veteran French actor, known for his acrobatic physicality and manic energy in films by Leos Carax and Claire Denis. Here he is Jack, a father of Susan (Hanna Gross), a girl with an unstable mental state which her father deems in need of lobotomy, who becomes a love interest for Andy. Lavant's over the top screeching, unintelligible, animalistic, (at least it sounds like) largely improvised monologue (in French and English and otherwise) steals the latter part of the film. Alverson has a singular sense of humor and tone, rarely seen in American indie cinema. And I welcome it.

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