Friday, May 20, 2011

Get Low

Directed by Aaron Schneider.
2009. Rated PG-13, 100 minutes.
Robert Duvall
Bill Murray
Sissy Spacek
Lucas Black
Bill Cobbs
Gerald McRaney
Scott Cooper
Lori Beth Edgeman
Andrea Powell

From time to time, children dare each other to knock on Felix Bush’s (Duvall) door. He’s the hermit that lives in a house way out in the woods. The unlucky ones shiver as they approach, uneasily making their way up the porch steps. The invariably take off running once they hear the cocking of a shotgun, whether they knock or not. Without fail, he fires a shot. Felix traps this one whogets a gander at his unkempt beard, wildly jutting from his face in every direction. This one also sees the crazed look in his eye and, of course, the shotgun. This is the man the boy has heard stories about. This is the man the boy has been told has killed and won’t hesitate to kill again. Felix lets the boy live. We get the sense that thes occasional run-ins are the only human contact the old man gets. Still, everyone in town seems to have a story to tell about him.

Felix says he wants to hear these stories. He also wants something a little more peculiar. He wants to hear them while attending his own funeral. In case you’re confused, he doesn’t want to wait until he’s dead for this. He wants to be alive and to invite anyone in town who wants to come and share their stories about him. He wants it to be party. Oh, this is inspired by a true story.

After discovering the hermit has a wad of money, funeral home owner Frank Quinn (Murray) proves to be just greedy enough and crazy enough to take the job. With the help of his young employee Buddy (Black), the two sell themselves as the right guys to make it happen. Soon, they discover this is no easy task. More importantly, they find out there’s a lot more to Mr. Bush than meets the eye.

Moving forward, it becomes questionable whether the trio can pull this thing off. It also becomes doubtful that Felix even wants to. His ulterior motives have stirred too many old emotions. Mr. Bush and Frank bicker, agree and disagree. To showcase this we get a pair of outstanding performances from Duvall and Murray. Though this can’t quite be labeled a comedy, their scenes together are fill with perfect comic timing. The jokes are sly, but effective.

Well before reaching the end, we realize this is the tale of a man seeking redemption on his own terms. From whom, or what, is not immediately clear. When it’s finally explained to us, we understand the pain that’s transformed him into the man everyone has a story about.

MY SCORE: 7.5/10

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