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Robert Duvall does a great job in this as usual. He's been missing from
films as of late, and I don't know why. He still has it. Bill Murray
was pretty good too. Duvall, plays Felix, a hermit living in the back
woods for 40 years. He hires Frank to plan him a funeral party in which
he wants to attend and hear stories about himself. We learn in the end
it's not stories Felix wants to hear but he himself wants to tell a
story. It's the reason he's been living by himself for so long and he's
filled with guilt. The final realization is a little underwhelming,
nothing too big. The movie goes by a little slow for me. Sissy Spacek
should have been giving more to do.
FINAL VERDICT: It's OK but don't go out of your way to see it.
So I watched 2009's funeral flick "get low", starring two greats Robert Duvall and one of my personal favorites Bill "mother trucking" Murray. So was it good, I say yes indeedy do. This film is a mystery of sorts, so once again I won't be discussing plot. However, I will comment on things like the direction which was very good, especially considering this was Aaron Schneider's first full length feature. The story was very interesting and well written. The story itself is loosely based on the life and I guess death of Felix Bushaloo Breazeale, a hermit acquitted of murder who had his own funeral party. The writers of the movie took this and twisted it and turned into a fine tale much better than the real life story. So now the acting, well as I said you have two greats plus a good supporting cast, so you can't go wrong there. Basically this is an easy to watch sort of indy film with great production value. Which leads us to the next question, is this film for everybody, yeah as I said it is easy to watch, it is comical at times, suspenseful at other times, has a little mystery, really something for everyone. I remember Robert Duvall promoted the shoot out of this movie, and it did make a small profit, which considering it is an indy type film is pretty good and so was this movie. if you like concise reviews of interesting films please read my other reviews at http://raouldukeatthemovies.blogspot.com/
yes, this is not the best film, but Robert Duvall and Sissy Spacek are
extraordinary. The glimpse of their talent is a gift. Watch it. Watch
it for them and be moved...I promise
bonus is the Allison Krauss soundtrack, the "Angel down from the Mountain" is just an added bonus
(and it won't let me post this unless I write more and right I don't have anymore to say then, this film is overlooked. I found it on On Demand and I am so glad I did... are these enough words to have my review published? please? just publish it. watch Robert Duvall, please?)
Another example of a triumph on paper not translating on the big
screen. Get Low has a lot of potential but never reaches any heights,
leaving it a reasonably interesting but inessential film.
It is nevertheless harmless and moderately enjoyable granted not high praise but it's all I can come up with.
Without the character of Felix Bush Get Low doesn't exist, so let's deal with him first. Felix (Robert Duvall) is an "ornery cuss" who lives alone outside of town in an era that I am guessing is the 1940s? Felix is the stereotypical grumpy loner, unshaven and inhospitable, the guy that the young kids creep through the woods to simply get a glimpse of, knowing full well they'll run home screaming if spotted.
"Get out my damn yard ya pesky kids!" We find that Felix has no need for help or companionship of others aside from his mule Gracie and the local townsfolk are both fearful and wary of him for reasons initially unknown, perhaps even to them. He has lived alone in this reclusive fashion for over 4 decades with no outside contact, until now Felix (and Gracie) head into town one day on an errand. Felix has decided that he can't wait for the inevitable and wants his funeral organised. Now.
While he's still kicking.
The first funeral director consults his inner self and says no, despite the balled up wad of cash thrown at him. Frank Quinn (Bill Murray) is going broke and looking for business he says yes. (Apparently there wasn't much dying going on at the time.) But Frank isn't stupid just greedy he has heard the miscellaneous rumours and legends of Felix Bush and wants no part of him that he can't spend. Frank sics his young honest understudy named Buddy Robinson on the case.
Felix has reasonably simple yet strange demands for his living funeral. He wants a party, he wants to be there, and the only people to be invited are those who come along armed with a story about Felix. Whether the story needs to be favourable to Felix or even true isn't mentioned. All good so far, but the intensity kicks up a notch when Felix adds that he plans to raffle of his entire estate and land for anyone interested if they kick in $5.
So Buddy and Frank set about advertising, Buddy because he wants to do the right thing by his client who he is sure is merely a confused old man, Frank as he is sure Felix can't possibly keep track of EVERY $5 raffle entry that comes in.
But this is where things get complicated. The posters go up and the money starts rolling in from all around. As the notoriety and attention grows faces pop up with stories to tell, most notably a woman named Mattie with whom Felix "shared a past" in the era before he shrank away from society. A further demand that a specific preacher be sourced to introduce the party lest it all be cancelled leads Felix and Buddy on a long journey, and all the while Frank counts the cash.
The primary reason for sticking with Felix's journey is supposed to be the big reveal as to why he decided to remain alone for so very long. It is hinted at through the mid section of the film that in his early years he had quite a lot going for him, and that his disappearance was never really explained. Without spoilers I can say that when we do learn the full backstory I must admit to being a little underwhelmed, though it is fair to say that Felix was far more than a crazy old coot living alone in the woods.
The entire film revolves around Robert Duvall and his cantankerous portrayal of Felix, he reveals just enough though when required to suggest there is far more behind the bushy beard that he sports for the first half of the movie, and that even when it seems he is being took we must remember looks can be deceiving.
Bill Murray is Bill Murray in his brief role as Frank, smarmy cocky and full of judgment for all others, but Lucas Black as Buddy becomes the trusted adviser to Felix and is the one who silently rides along with him for much of his journey.
Final Rating 6.5 / 10. While the journey is ultimately pretty dull, Duvall and Murray are like a good mixtape on a long trip that you don't really want to be taking, they make a dull ride tolerable.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Felix Bush lives in a small hut in the midst of a forest, a hermit,
who's life remains something of a mystery to the local townsfolk who
seem to have made their own stories and rumours up about him. Growing
old and weary, Felix decides to thrown a big party, a funeral party -
Involving the local funeral home, he builds on his plan to tell a story, one that interests Mattie who has just arrived back in town after losing her husband. The two have a connection and Mattie seeks a truth, one that Felix seems reluctant to give, perhaps because after holding it in for 40 years it's more difficult to reveal what he's held close to his heart and made him the man he's become.
In the beginning the film appears to a be a wry look at the end of life, but gradually the film changes from funny to moving as Felix faces his hidden past. Robert Duvall as Felix, gives a truly wonderful performance, gentle, yet misunderstood and deep down very pained. There are also fine performances from Sissy Spacek as Mattie and the ever brilliant Bill Murray adds his superb skills to the role of funeral home owner Frank Quinn - I don't think I could ever tire watching him.
Scored with some wonderful music this wonderful film grows on you gradually and in the end I found this very moving as Felix not only faces the ghosts of his past, but also faces the final days of his life and as he finally manages to let out what has shaped his life, it is difficult not to be moved by how one event alters lives irrevocably.
A charming, endearing, moving piece of film making.
More of my reviews at my site: iheartfilms.weebly.com
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This modest and slyly comic film is based on the true story of a man who staged his own funeral party while he was alive to witness it. The setting is depression era Tennessee. Felix Burns (Robert Duvall) is a hermit, who for the past forty years has lived as a recluse on his own expansive property on the outskirts of a small town. Because he has rarely ventured into town, a number of rumours and apocryphal stories have circulated about him. "Gossip is the Devil's radio," says the local priest, and Felix himself is unconcerned by all the speculation. When he learns of the death of a man he once knew, Felix decides that it is time for him to set his own house in order. He emerges from his self-imposed exile and rides into town. There he asks the local undertaker Frank Quinn (Bill Murray) to arrange a "living funeral" party for him. The catch is he wants to be there. Anyone who has a story to tell about him is invited to turn up, and the person who tells the best story will inherit his sprawling property. The financially strapped Quinn is keen to appease Felix, and appoints his assistant Buddy (Lucas Black) as Felix's unofficial minder in the lead up to the funeral party. Buddy learns more about Felix's pain and shame in the lead up to the wake. However, it is here that the filmmakers cheat a little, as this possibly interesting aspect of the plot is never really developed. Instead, at the climactic gathering Felix nervously tells the assembled crowd of the reason why he has preferred his solitary life. It is a form of apologia for something terrible that happened all those years earlier. Long kept secrets are revealed, broken hearts are mended, and Felix reveals that he is not the terrifying curmudgeon that everyone has him pegged as. When he delivers his soliloquy it is a deeply affecting and moving speech delivered with all the power that Duvall can harness. Get Low is the first feature film written by Chris Provenzano (tv series like Mad Men, etc) and C Gaby Mitchell (Fallen Angels, etc) and it has a simple straightforward quality. The film has been sensitively directed by Aaron Schneider (a former cinematographer who worked as second unit dop on Titanic, etc, before winning an Oscar for his own short film Two Soldiers), who makes his feature film debut here. Despite the modest budget, Schneider brings a wonderful sense of time and place to the material. David Boyd's cinematography is atmospheric, and Geoffrey Kirkland's production design effectively evokes 1930's Tennessee. Jan Kaczmarek's score is evocative and moody. But it is the solid performances of the ensemble cast that bring life to the material. In his best role since The Apostle, Duvall shines as the crusty and weathered old recluse, a potentially unsympathetic character, and his performance is tinged with equal parts humanity, pain, melancholy and regret. His role here as a misunderstood loner in a small town also harks back to one of his earliest roles, that of Boo Radley in To Kill A Mockingbird. Get Low is intended as a showpiece for Duvall (who is also credited as one of the producers), and while he is very good, the film belongs to Murray, whose typically droll, deadpan and sarcastic performance gives the film much of its strength. When Murray and Duvall share the screen there is some electricity. Sissy Spacek also gives solid support as Mattie, a woman who shares a mysterious past with Burns, and who has recently returned to town. The scenes she shares with Duvall are quite touching. And former child star Black brings an appealing innocence and naivety to his performance. Bill Cobbs (Night At The Museum, etc) is also effective as the preacher who knows Felix's guilty secret but refuses to grant him forgiveness. While the film deals with some weighty themes like life, love, guilt, redemption and regret, it has a quaint and quirky charm that many will find unexpectedly charming.
Robert Duvall's Get Low uses images of tombstones and a dark, secluded
hermit's house to explore not only what it means to die well, but also
what it means to live well. Despite its rather strange premise about a
hermit who wants to plan and attend his own "funeral party," the movie
is full of warmth and true humanity. We go from being scared of Felix
Bush, to feeling sorry for him and finally cheering him on when he
finds the strength to confess his deepest sin. If we let ourselves, we
can learn a thing or two from this man who knows so much about pain,
shame and loneliness.
Two quotes from the movie caught my attention: "We like to imagine that good and bad, right and wrong are miles apart, but the truth is very often they are all tangled up with each other." "I also think that people are so scared about what they don't know that they make things up to try to feel better about it."
This movie challenges us to find strength by looking right and wrong squarely in the face, even if it takes forty years to get there.
While the movie addresses deep themes such as forgiveness and closure, what keeps us interested all along is its curious plot: is the funeral party really going to happen? If so, what in the world will it look like? What did the old hermit do that he's so ashamed of?
Perhaps the soul of the movie is most deeply expressed in its music, especially the song that brings closure to the whole experience: "Lay my Burden Down" performed by Alison Krauss. If you like the haunting earthy tones of this country song where beauty and tragedy are all mixed together, chances are you'll like Get Low.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Saw it on DVD. The title is a reference to backwoods slang which means
to be buried after dying. Like "it is almost time to get low." Set in
early 20th century.
Robert Duvall is Felix Bush, pretty much a hermit with full facial hair. In opening scenes we see that local kids fear him, know "tales" about him, but still may go up to his house and throw a rock through his window. By the wood panel patches we see it happens occasionally.
Feeling his age, and needing to eventually confront his own mortality, he decides that he doesn't want a funeral where everyone tells their tales after he is dead. He wants a funeral while he is still alive, and he wants anyone who has a story to tell about him to be invited. There will be a big party with entertainment.
But that isn't the real reason, something happened years earlier, about 40 years earlier, that has been bothering him and he needs to get right with it.
Sissy Spacek is Mattie Darrow, who comes back to the rural Tennessee community after a long absence. Locals are surprised that she knows Felix. It seems they had a romantic involvement all those years ago.
Bill Murray is good in a supporting role as funeral director Frank Quinn. His only employee is Lucas Black as Buddy. Gerald McRaney is the local pastor Rev. Gus Horton. And Bill Cobbs is Rev. Charlie Jackson, a pastor in Indiana, in a church Felix had built oh so many years ago.
Good story, good movie, Robert Duvall is especially good.
SPOILERS: All those years ago when Felix was seeing Mattie, he actually fell in love with her married sister. He had started an affair with her and they were planning to run off together. But the husband found out and beat the wife to death. Felix showed up and the house caught on fire, he fled but the couple died and burned up. Felix of course felt guilty, he was responsible for her death, because of the illicit relationship. He needed forgiveness and redemption.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The drama opens in the thirties, deep in the Tennessee backwoods, where
old Felix Bush has lived alone for 40 years. He's known as a crazy ol'
hermit and people taunt him, but don't know him. Felix decides it's
time to "get low" - that is, to get down to business, and his business
is dying. He comes to town to arrange his own funeral party to be held
while he's still alive, not because he likes parties, but because it's
finally time to explain what happened forty years ago that drove him
This little indie movie is a real gem. Robert Duvall (Felix) is given the opportunity to really show his acting skills. He plays a man of very few words but his wrinkled face and pained eyes reveal a world of hurt, guilt, and love. He's a wonder to watch, completely convincing and absolutely heartbreaking. Bill Murray brings humor to his role as the funeral director and Sissy Spacek is fine as Felix's old flame. The wonderful Bill Cobb is outstanding, as always, as the only person who knows Felix's secret. It takes a very long time for us to learn the secret and I almost become impatient, but the ending brought me to tears and I felt a real connection to Felix.
This is a well-written character study about a tortured man and the power of forgiveness. Highly recommended.
Duval is always great but this role seems to have been written for him.
the entire cast gives flawless performances. Solid writing solid acting
Sissy Spacek provides a wonderful counter of tenderness to Duval's
Bill Murray is enigmatic as someone who admits his sleaziness but actually behaves morally.................................................
Lucas Black is consistent and the moral compass of the entire movie as he hesitantly takes part.
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