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Get Low I found disappointing. It has expensive cast, Robert Duval, Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek. Small town 1920s is lovingly reproduced. The basic plot is a taciturn, rude, gun-toting, bullying, stereotype old codger, Felix Bush wants to have a funeral party while he is still alive. Murray does a good job with the down at the heels funeral director. He is no hero, but he has his dignity. This simple plot drags on and on and on. All the time, town's people make references to Felix's unspeakably notorious past, but no one ever reveals any details. It gets to be really irritating and artificial. At the funeral party, with plenty of extras in costumes and cars, Felix reveals his crime, which it turns out was not that bad after all. What almost made be throw up was when Felix died for real, his girl friend of the deep past came to visit him as a ghost to guide him to heaven. Gag me with a spoon! How dare they throw in such a trite, cheesy Christian infomercial! (I expected a subtitle -- brought to you by Peter Popoff faith healers).
The main reason I was looking forward to Get Low was the presence of
two of my favorite actors, Bill Murray and Robert Duvall. I was
disappointed, though, when I found no meaningful interaction between
them on-screen. Robert Duvall is, in fact, the only thing that makes
the movie watchable at all - after years of playing mostly quirky
grandpas and grumpy old men, this is his first real character in many
years, and he's still in top form delivering a fantastic character
study. Bill Murray is good too - the character is perfect for him, but
unfortunately not for the film.
Get Low has all the makings of a good film, but it falls flat. It's intentionally slow-paced and laid-back, of course, but it goes too far in that direction, dragging on and taking ages to get to an unsatisfying climax. Duvall's character is interesting, but not sympathetic enough; and the rest of the townsfolk have potential as characters, but the film moves so slowly that there's no time to really explore any of them. It may be worth remembering as part of the Robert Duvall filmography but not for anything else.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Yeah, Robert Duvall does a great acting job. So does Sissy Spacek. But the movie moved VERY slowly. Not only that, I assumed that Duvall's secret, the one that made him a hermit and put him in a self-imposed "prison" for 40 years was going to be a powerful one. Well, it wasn't. My reaction was, "That's it? That's the secret?" Compare this to Kristin Scott-Thomas's secret in "I Loved You So Long." OK, when that was revealed, it made me understand why she stoically stayed in prison and let everyone talk about her however they wanted to. This wasn't it. Why the vast majority of critics loved this movie is (obviously, due to my "5" rating) beyond me.
An outstanding cast that includes Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, and Bill
Murray carries director Aaron Schneider's first feature film Get Low,
but only up to a point. The rest is inspiration but it is sorely
lacking. Loosely or "somewhat" (or not much) based on a true story, the
film examines the life of Felix "Bush" Breazeale of Tennessee who, in
1938, arranged a "living funeral" for himself in which 12,000 people
are reported to have attended. Breazeale wanted to hear what stories
people would tell about him while he was still alive, ignoring the fact
that people will rarely say to your face what they will say when you
are no longer around.
Set in the 1930s, Duvall is Bush, a hermit who cut himself off from the world and lived alone in the woods for forty years. There are a lot of rumors about him being a killer, kids are scared to death of him, and the sign posted on his property "No Damn Trespassing" does not exactly endear himself to his neighbors, such as they were. When Bush gets an inkling that his days may be numbered, he goes to town to arrange for his funeral with Frank Quinn (Bill Murray), the snarky owner of a struggling funeral parlor. Quinn sees a chance for a fast buck and enlists his "boy scout" young assistant Buddy (Lucas Black) to help Bush realize his plan.
While Quinn is a cynic, Bill Murray's brand of comedy is so endearing that he never comes off as a true villain. When Buddy says they cannot hold a funeral for someone who is still alive, the deadpan Quinn corrects him quickly, saying, "It's a detail we can look at." It soon becomes evident that Bush really could care less about what people might say about him and just wants the chance to reveal the secret that made him turn his back on the world forty years ago. We have to wait for the end to find out what it is, but the film suggests that it involved the sister of an ex-flame Mattie Darrow (Sissy Spacek), who describes Felix as having been the most beautiful man she had ever seen.
Persuaded to speak at Felix's "funeral," one of his old friends Reverend Charlie Jackson (Bill Cobbs) says "We like to imagine good and bad, right and wrong are miles apart. The truth is, very often they are all tangled up with each other." To his credit Bush acknowledges, "I built my own jail and I put myself in it and I stayed there for 40 goddamn years."While Bush's great reveal is certainly interesting and very well done, it does not have the impact that it should, maybe because it was a bit too late or too tepid or maybe we just don't care. In any event, Get Low only underscores the point that acknowledging your misdeeds, taking responsibility for them, and letting go is much preferable to beating yourself up and hiding from your own feelings and the world.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a quirky movie that moves slow but it is a nice story. Acting
is fantastic. I see the movie did not get wide release and barely made
its budget back. I assume this means no studio picked it up, which
surprises me. There are tinges of humor, but they wisely didn't try to
make it a failed Coen brothers movie, like Leaves of Grass. The tone is
spot-on, and what really impressed me was how that yearning plaintive
single guitar could make such a good soundtrack so much of the time.
Spoiler: Its touching to think a trauma could have made that strapping young guy into a loner, but after his big speech, I was left thinking "You should have got out more, if you don't really enjoy all that solitude."
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After watching the quirky Julia Stiles's Comedy It's A Disaster,I
decided to take a look at what other movie were about to be taken off
Netflix UK.Being Impressed by Robert Duvall's role in The Judge,and
having always enjoyed Bill Murray,I decided to find out how low things
Seeing him live as a hermit for 40 years,the residence of the town start to tell tales of the mysterious Felix Bush.Catching everyone by surprise,Bush walks into town an goes to a funeral parlour run by Buddy Robinson and Frank Quinn.Pulling out a load of cash,Bush reveals that he wants to hold a "funeral party",where everyone will be able to meet and tell their tales about him,as Bush listens to them all.Whilst this is a rather strange offer,Quinn and Robinson decide to accept it,and start setting things up.As the funeral party gets nearer,Bush begins to think about revealing the events from 40 years ago which led to him staying low in the wilderness.
View on the film:
Looking like he has been in the mountains for decades, Robert Duvall gives an incredible performance as Felix Bush,with Duvall carrying the weight on his shoulders the decades that Bush has not been able to free the truth from.Cleaning Bush up from his wild man image,Duvall injects an earthy gravitas filled with a longing pain which flows as Bush looks out at the gathering listening to his every word.Looking more comfortable displaying his dramatic chops than the action kicks he is known for, Lucas Black gives a strong performance as Buddy Robinson whose sincerity Black links up to the folk mood of the title.Joined by a misty-eyed Sissy Spacek as Mattie Darrow, Bill Murray dices Frank Quinn with a rich dry wit,which Murray flairs up as Quinn tries to keep Bush on track.
Bringing the events which have haunted Bush for decades to light in a fragmented nature,the screenplay by Chris Provenzano/C. Gaby Mitchell and Scott Seeke brilliantly use "wild man" comedic shots at the beginning to bridge the viewer and Bush,that makes Bush's "funeral" one that hits with a real sorrow.Taking their sweet time arranging the funeral,the writers delightfully let the audience drink up the gentle small town atmosphere,where every corner is filled with wild tales and fears over what led Bush to stay in the wilderness.
Sitting everyone round the fire that the screenplay started,editor/director Aaron Schneider & cinematographer David Boyd cast a deep-fried southern atmosphere over the film,with crispy browns and yellows elegantly capturing the small town feel of the movie. Uncovering the years that Bush has stayed silent,Schneider closes in with dazzling close-up which give a deep depth of field to every line that has gathered on Bush's face,as Bush decides that he can no longer stay low.
After years of only partially knowing about this film, I finally decided to order it from Netflix just recently. My mom ended up watching it with me. She thought it was a little depressing. Well, it sorta is, but it also was a little amusing in spots. I mean, Robert Duvall is fine as the leading character who normally just lives by himself and tries to not bother anyone but there are tales about him that he doesn't confirm or deny. Bill Murray is a funeral director who takes Duvall's request for a funeral party so he can be talked about while he's alive. Sissy Spacek is a woman Duvall once knew. There's also nice parts for Lucas Black and Bill Cobbs. In summary, Get Low is quite a worthy drama for those patient enough for a low-key, mostly non-confrontational film.
The movie opens with a burning farmhouse. Felix Bush (Robert Duvall) is
a reclusive hermit in the woods feared by the locals. Rev. Gus Horton
(Gerald McRaney) brings news of a death. Then Felix surprises everybody
by coming into town. Struggling greedy funeral parlor owner Frank Quinn
(Bill Murray) pushes Buddy (Lucas Black) to sell to Felix. Felix
decides to throw a funeral party while he's still alive and invite
everybody with a story about him. Felix offers a lottery for his
property of 300 acres. Mattie Darrow (Sissy Spacek) is a woman from his
past living in the town.
This has some great performances. Duvall is masterful and surprisingly funny. Murray has wonderfully dry comedy. Spacek is intriguing. It's great indie of intriguing characters. It also has some quirky funny moments.
This is a strange and wonderful movie. Be patient with the slow start and you will be rewarded with a rich and complex story filled with outstanding performances and an incredible finish. It is an offbeat tale with a humorous tinge but is in no way a "comedy." The cast is first rate. The story is...well, creative and different. It is set in the early to mid twentieth century when older men had more in common with a mule than an automobile and young men could turn a wrench but might not recognize a bridle. Honor, honesty and dignity were valued. It was a turning point in modern American history. The cinematography is brilliant with exceptionally well done scenes in lantern light only. Great story, well filmed and quality performances by accomplished actors. An all around winner and a must watch.
Robert Duvall is and always will be a HUGE star, without being a huge
star. This guy has never let an audience down that I know of and yet,
he's always been the type of star who's never flashy, never staring in
the big movie. He's either in these small movies or his a co-star and
that's perfect. He commands the screen without overwhelming you and he
does it again in "Get Low".
The rest of the cast is delightful as well. Bill Murray knows how to play the guy you get uncomfortable around, but can't help but like and Sissy Spacek has such a wonderful way of playing subdued roles. These people are what making movies is about, or should be.
Lucas Black has become one hell of talent as well and his low key approach is always fun to watch.
I'm gushing, but having just watched this movie about 2 hours ago, I can't help it. There's humor, there's drama (you'll laugh, you'll cry!) and it's very well balanced. There's a bit of mystery about Robert Duvall's character, Felix Bush that doesn't get revealed until the very end.
No, I'm not doing a synopsis of the film, there's plenty of those here and on the main page, but I am praising this 'little' film and wondering why I hadn't heard of it (It's now 6 years old) before? I didn't realize it was based on a true story until I read that here and now the movie seems even better to me. Yeah, I accidentally found it Nexflix and thought, "eh, what the heck? I've got some time to kill." So glad I killed it with this movie.
A quick nod to Gerald McRaney and Bill Cobbs. Very nice work on their part as well. No surprises there.
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