Two highway road workers spend the summer of 1988 away from their city lives. The isolated landscape becomes a place of misadventure as the men find themselves at odds with each other and the women they left behind.
Following the death of his wife Audrey, John Munn moves with his two sons, mid-teen Chris Munn and adolescent Tim Munn, to a pig farm in rural Drees County, Georgia, where they lead a ... See full summary »
After a rough time working a night shift job in the city, Alvin is spending the summer on a remote two-man public works crew painting lines on newly paved roads through what is a recently wildfire-ravaged region of Texas. He is camping along the way living off the land, even doing so on his days off. He is what he considers a responsible man, earning and sending money to his girlfriend, Madison, a single mother, so that she need not concern herself with anything besides child rearing. The junior second that Alvin hires for his crew is Madison's brother, Lance. Alvin's controlling and judgmental nature comes to the surface in his dealings with more immature and irresponsible Lance, who goes back to the city on the weekends so that he can have "his little man squeezed", something he cannot understand in Alvin being without Madison or any woman for such a long stretch of time. Alvin prefers to stay in the burnt out woods on the weekends as being alone with his thoughts and his chores - ...Written by
Based on a 'minimalist' Icelandic film, the movie was shot in only 16 days. See more »
Lance lights a cigarette with a BIC lighter which has a child safety lock, a feature they did not have in 1988. See more »
[about cassette tape]
Hey! What are you doing?
I was falling asleep. I thought it would be a good idea to change the station situation.
It wasn't. I was listening to that.
I know, but it's boring for the rest of us. I was falling asleep doing the work.
So, I wanna play this tape. I wanna play this play to get motivated and pumped up, ya know?
I know, I know you want to play that tape. Look, you know what, Lance, I'm not here to start a fight. That's not what I want to do. ...
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The letters for the title appear in time with the taps of the hammer as they hammer a post into the ground. See more »
Moments of both truth and comedy emerge from super-indie 'Prince Avalanche'
If two dudes quarrel in the woods ... do they make a sound? Director David Gordon Green has graciously stepped back from making underachieving R-rated comedies to give us what could end up amounting to an underachieving R-rated comedy, but in truth offers a good deal more.
Based on a story by Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurosson, "Prince Avalanche" follows two men doing road repair work in the wildfire-ravaged Texas wilderness in the summer of 1988. Alvin (Paul Rudd) has hired his girlfriend's brother, Lance (Emile Hirsch) to work alongside him hammering in reflector posts and painting traffic lines. The two are archetypal opposites: Alvin the focused, organized and wiser character and Lance the immature, unskilled free- wheeler. Their naturally tenuous relationship goes through ups and downs and unsurprisingly, the two find common ground in their opposite approaches and perspectives.
The David Gordon Green who directs this film recalls the one who made "All the Real Girls" and "Snow Angels," not the one appeared to steal his name and made "Pineapple Express," "Your Highness" and "The Sitter." One could argue it's a middle ground offering between Green's two extremes because of the film's comic angle, but the pace and style has more Terrence Malick influence than anything else and the humor isn't written in so much as it emerges organically from the back-and-forth of the performances.
With a combination of nature establishing shots, the camera zooming down a road and a stirring soundtrack from Austin-based post-rockers Explosions in the Sky (a nice local touch), "Avalanche" exudes indie-ness. It's quirky, comically exaggerated, poignantly human and Green tells it in a logical but atypical narrative structure. The film is a voice-over narrator away from being so independent it wouldn't be independent anymore.
Half of "Prince Avalanche" focuses on setting a reflective tone through visuals, while the other half examines these characters through their dialogue with one another. Much of the script consists of conversations that simultaneously reveal their utter simplicity as well as their true humanity. The story ultimately mediates on notions of loneliness and our need for companionship in both platonic and non-platonic forms.
Rudd and Hirsch make all the comedy click, though Green has a way of framing certain shots that bring out the humor in seemingly ordinary situations. Both actors are on top of their game -- few can strike a balance between comedy and honesty like Rudd and "Avalanche" is an ideal showcase for that talent. Hirsch, meanwhile, continues to offer up evidence why he's grossly underrated.
"Prince Avalanche" tries to find that sweet spot between comedy and relationship drama, and though it strikes a few resonant chords emotionally speaking, it's not nearly as fulfilling or powerful as Green's poetic imagery suggests that it desires to be. It has a bit too much fun reveling in its weirdness and goofy, innocent man-child characters, but on the flip side, how many films with goofy, innocent man-child characters even manage to achieve this level of thoughtfulness?
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