Brandon's Sundance Review: Aaron Schneider's Get Low
by Brandon Lee Tenney
January 29, 2010
Get Low, starring Robert Duvall as Felix Bush, Bill Murray as Frank Quinn, and Lucas Black as Buddy, is powerful cinema. The film is set in the 1930s in a rural, southern town where Felix Bush resides, though on its outskirts. He's a hermit, a recluse; to the rest of the town, though, he's a devil. Or at least something close. For forty years, Felix has kept himself secluded. But now, as he feels death approaching, he ventures out of his cabin. And he wants to attend his own funeral. Get Low is the story of this man's legend as much as it is about his life. It's this subtle weaving of the town's exterior perspective and his internal turmoil that makes the film so intriguing. Though it's the writing and performances that give the film a life of its own.
Robert Duvall gives a simply entrancing performance. His final monologue of the film is as good as I've ever seen him. Bill Murray, too, is at his best. He's charming and hilarious and a bit of an ass, as only he can pull off. The film blends tones ably, weaving some very intense drama with a very taught mystery and some wry humor. At its heart, though, Get Low is about atonement, grief, and love. It's heartbreaking, yet hopeful. Aside from some jarring editing, causing those blends of tone to clash rather than work harmoniously, the film is an accomplished vision. It says a lot by saying very little, mimicking Felix's character for much of the film. Every moment and every character has a foil, and it's the interplay of these contrasts that the film displays most perfectly. And it's the exploration of forgiveness that makes the film so appealing.
Brandon's Sundance Rating: 8 out of 10