(2007)

Critic Reviews

83

Metascore

Based on 27 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
Youth and death meet again in Gus Van Sant's Paranoid Park, a gorgeously stark, mesmerizingly elliptical story told in the same lyrical-prosaic style that has characterized his latest films.
100
Appropriately structured like a ride on skateboard: It swoops back and forth in time, hovers in midair, twists back on itself over and over again, then rolls into silence.
90
It's a new and inspired vision of a familiar state of being -- teenage anomie amidst the crumbling wreckage of a middle-class American family. In the space of 78 minutes, Mr. Van Sant and his cinematographer, the peerless Christopher Doyle, manage to suffuse that state with haunting sadness, ubiquitous danger, pulsing power and flickers of hope.
88
The film's sound design, sampling Beethoven and Nino Rota, among others, links up with visual miracles performed by Rain Kathy Li and Wong Kar-Wai's noted cinematographer, Christopher Doyle (In the Mood for Love), to take us inside Alex's head. The result, a defiant slap at slick Hollywood formula, is mesmerizing.
88
Chicago Tribune
“Elephant” may have won the Palme d'Or at Cannes but it really didn't have anything to say about anything. Modest and artful, Paranoid Park says a great deal.
88
Miami Herald
The story of Paranoid Park may center on an extreme and unusual case, but it's Van Sant's understanding of -- and compassion for -- the hell of growing up that makes the film such a profound and lasting pleasure.
88
Premiere
It's terribly strong -- in structural ingenuity, emotional pull, and particularly visual beauty.
88
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
It might seem, from 2002's "Gerry" to his ersatz Kurt Cobain biopic, "Last Days," that Gus Van Sant has been making the same movie: an enigmatic and poetic paean to (teenaged) male beauty, disaffection and inscrutability.
83
Paranoid Park has the slightly glum insularity of minimalist fiction, but it's the first of Van Sant's blitzed-generation films in which a young man wakes up instead of shutting down.
80
The Hollywood Reporter
In Paranoid Park, Gus Van Sant enters the world of high school kids just as he did in "Elephant," achieving this time a much sharper, more focused portrait of how these rapidly maturing young people act, think, speak and behave.
75
The story's fractured structure - and Christopher Doyle's dreamlike cinematography - make for a striking mood piece.
63
The fluid film cinematography of Christopher Doyle and Rain Kathy Li, intercut with grainy Super-8 shots of park regulars, tracks the skaters in their free-flying, free-styling and free-falling grace. In these privileged moments, the film is close to transcendence, defying time, space and gravity.

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