A friendship between two young men is tested when they go for a hike in a desert and forget to bring any water or food with them.A friendship between two young men is tested when they go for a hike in a desert and forget to bring any water or food with them.A friendship between two young men is tested when they go for a hike in a desert and forget to bring any water or food with them.
I knew what was up going into Gerry and I was fully prepared to shrug and say, "Sorry Gus, little too pretentious for me." But it's not. And it's not an acting exercise, not wildly entertaining, not a lot of things. What is it? It's like a slow yoga class that lasts 103 minutes. If you have no patience for that you would want to smother your vinyasa instruction with his or her yoga mat, and you would want to track down Gus Van Sant and slap him in the face.
Like a ritual, you can't judge this movie and enjoy it at the same time.
If you've ever taken a tai chi or yoga class you've probably been asked to do something like "pretend you are holding a beach ball between your hands" or "imagine there is a log jam in your mind that you have to clear one tree at a time." I think most people immediately feel like idiots doing that, but maybe 50% of us do it anyway no matter how stupid we're sure it is because we're there to learn to relax and center ourselves. And maybe it's the second month of that same yoga class and you're picturing your asinine log jam and for the first time you really feel it, like a dream, and you clear that silly image away one log at a time. And it's still silly, but it feels good. And an hour passes and you feel like you've been there for a lifetime.
Gerry is brave and patient for being painstakingly NOT impressive at first glance. Anyone familiar with Gus Van Sant's other films knows he could have made this more complex and "entertaining." The fact that he didn't spruce it up for us doesn't make this film self-indulgent.
Or maybe it does, because he had to believe, along with Matt and Casey, that there would be enough viewers with the patience to stop their busy/important lives for an hour and forty minutes to experience a very personal expression of a simple artistic idea. Maybe Van Sant was a little naive there, to expect so much of such critical people as your average Film Festival attendee. Or maybe it was worth it if just he and his two actors got to experience it themselves and see it finished and on screen. I was thankful to be in the right frame of mind to experience Gerry and all nods to the 3 talents who brought it to life.
- Sep 7, 2004