Another dazzling suburban phantasm from writer-director Todd Haynes, Dottie Gets Spanked (made post-Poison and pre-Safe) is a stylized, bittersweet nod to his childhood fascination with I ... See full summary »
J. Evan Bonifant,
"Tallahatchie Bridge": With those two simple words, the powerful images of a lost innocence, a murky river and a mysterious suicide spring to mind. Scorning the demands of her overbearing ... See full summary »
Near the Everglades, the "river of grass," lives Cozy (named for her father's favorite drummer), lonely, in a loveless marriage, ignoring her kids. She fantasizes being a dancer, an acrobat, and a gymnast. One night at a bar she meets Lee. He's jobless, homeless, and unbeknownst to Cozy, is in possession of her father's handgun. Dad's a cop and lost the gun chasing a robber. Cozy and Lee climb a fence to swim in a pool. Playing around with the gun, they think they kill the pool's owner, so they go on the lam. An odd partnership develops even though they're short on ideas. But how can they escape their barren lot if they don't even have a quarter for the road toll?Written by
a sign of things to come, if less than the sum of its parts
River of Grass is a 'first-movie' (practically in quotes to make the distinction) not just in the fact that it is for Kelly Reichardt, but in tone too: the film is a loose, vaguely noir-ish tale with a more low-key beat and looking forward for when the director really takes a hold of that "mumblecore" thing years later as it's about a mother of two and a 2nd-tier Jack Nicholson character think they've accidentally killed someone and they go on the run... not really(?)
It's like the American remake of Breathless I might've wanted instead of the weak one with Richard Gere. It's a little too short to be more than a little festival experiment, but it has some good jazz, some good acting, a few genuinely weird and funny moments (some with a quirky Orthodox Jew who laughs a lot), and a final twist that seems needlessly pessimistic. I want to emphasize if you're a Reichardt fan and come to this in retrospect that it's not a bad debut, and not a great one either, though it does speak to her as having more of a sense of humor than her other films might lead one to believe.
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