Friday, July 29, 2011


Gerry (2002) - Van Sant
If a film starts with Arvo Pärt's Spiegel im Spiegel, you know that shit's gonna go down and someone will die. It sets the tone. That's what happens in Gerry, but very slowly. We follow Casey Affleck and Matt Damon through a desert hiking trail and where they soon get lost. They totally gerried their directions. At first, with uneven visuals (mainly long takes but not the usual Harris Savides style), minimal dialogue and annoying moody score, I had a hard time getting into it. Once it settles in with the desert vistas and monotonous trekking, I was totally sold on its hypnotic nature. There is a funny ten minute marooned-on-the-rock scene that ends in totally ridiculous way.

Gerry is not an incisive character study, nor huffy survival tale, nor reflection on today's wayward youth. Van Sant keeps things deliberately obscure. It's challenging. Two characters are totally interchangeable. There is nothing really going on. Yet I couldn't keep my eyes off the screen. It's an interesting experiment that is only possible in cinematic terms. I liked it.