A story of amour fou. Walt is madly in love/lust with a young illegal Mexican immigrant. However, the object of his unrequited affection doesn't even speak any English and finds Walt really... See full summary »
The teenager and skateboarder Alex is interviewed by Detective Richard Lu that is investigating the death of a security guard in the rail yards severed by a train who was apparently hit by a skate board. While dealing with the separation process of his parents and the sexual heat of his virgin girlfriend Jennifer, Alex writes his last experiences in Paranoid Park with his new acquaintances and how the guard was killed, trying to relieve his feeling of guilty from his conscience.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Another Van Sant gem. Discovering Bela Tarr has really redefined his career, and brought out a new artistic direction in him. I've really been enjoying his new directions, and have been a great admirer of Elephant in particular. Van Sant here has crafted a very interesting film, one that at the end had to make me think for a minute: wait? he's robbed us of the end of the story - only to snap back again seconds later to think: you crafty swine...
Yes, the security guard narrative essentially is a macguffen. Paranoid Park transcends its thematic plot to discover deeper and far more rewarding truths. The film is above all about communication, or the lack thereof, or learning how to of. The story follows Alex, a young skater who is involved in the accidental but brutal death of a security guard in a train yard nearby the infamous Paranoid Park. The narrative style jumps around in time, tracing a number of days in the life of our young skater. He has issues with his parents: they're divorcing; he feels they don't' care about him. He has issues with his girlfriend: she pushes him to have sex, and he does not because he wants to but because he can't communicate how he feels to her. And to push things over the top, he has the burden of being involved in a man's death, and a suspicious but jovial police officer questioning him. Sounds like pretty standard stuff, but its the execution that makes it work. Alex narrates the film as he writes out his story. We come to find in the last act that he's been persuaded by a kindly and politically interested girl, who recognizes when no one else does that he's harbouring some serious baggage. This she tells him is the key to his emancipation. Once he writes he had can simply burn it - its the telling of the story that counts, not the audience. Van Sant employs his newfound quiet and laboured pacing to highlight the anomic alienation of Alex from his slacker and otherwise inept friends (who laugh at the photos of the mutilated man's body), his girlfriend, and most of all his parents. He uses some excellent and totally unexpected music for a skater film, and structures this as the most refined film featuring skate boarding one could imagine. He also uses some clever camera and editing tricks, such as a number of sequences where the soundtrack plays at normal speed against a shot that is slowed down, creating a dreamy and hallucinatory effect. It was otherwise nice to see some old School Fellini film music thrown in their. Parents were a big theme in Elephant, and I think an even bigger theme here. Van Sant uses a simple but ingeniously clever camera trick to highlight the distance between Alex and his parents - he keeps their faces either offscreen of out of focus, save for one important moment. The affect created is such that when we finally see the face come into focus, the words said become all the more poignant and truly touching
5 of 10 people found this review helpful.
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