Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: Zac Efron Talks About His Masturbation Techniques In 'The Interview' Segment With James Franco Watch: Zac Efron Talks About His Masturbation Techniques In 'The Interview' Segment With James Franco First Look Images: Patrick Stewart As A Neo-Nazi In 'Blue Ruin' Director Jeremy Saulnier's 'Green Room' & More First Look Images: Patrick Stewart As A Neo-Nazi In 'Blue Ruin' Director Jeremy Saulnier's 'Green Room' & More Watch: Footage From "Sick," Unreleased Marilyn Manson Video, Directed By Eli Roth & Featuring Lana Del Rey Watch: Footage From "Sick," Unreleased Marilyn Manson Video, Directed By Eli Roth & Featuring Lana Del Rey Christopher Nolan Talks 'Interstellar' Twist And Enigmatic Ending Christopher Nolan Talks 'Interstellar' Twist And Enigmatic Ending Review: 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1' Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Philip Seymour Hoffman, And More Review: 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1' Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Philip Seymour Hoffman, And More Steve McQueen's Next Film Will Be About Paul Robeson Steve McQueen's Next Film Will Be About Paul Robeson Watch: First Trailer For 'The Age Of Adaline' Starring Blake Lively, Ellen Burstyn And Harrison Ford Watch: First Trailer For 'The Age Of Adaline' Starring Blake Lively, Ellen Burstyn And Harrison Ford Listen Up, Christopher Nolan Defends Sound Mix On 'Interstellar' Listen Up, Christopher Nolan Defends Sound Mix On 'Interstellar' Official Soundtrack Details For Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Inherent Vice' Revealed Official Soundtrack Details For Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Inherent Vice' Revealed Casting: Shailene Woodley Joins Oliver Stone's Edward Snowden Pic, 'True Detective' Adds Pair & More Casting: Shailene Woodley Joins Oliver Stone's Edward Snowden Pic, 'True Detective' Adds Pair & More Watch: 40-Minute Discovery Channel Special 'The Science Of Interstellar' Narrated By Matthew McConaughey Watch: 40-Minute Discovery Channel Special 'The Science Of Interstellar' Narrated By Matthew McConaughey Review: Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Starring Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway & More Review: Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Starring Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway & More 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' Will Conclude With A 45-Minute Battle Sequence 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' Will Conclude With A 45-Minute Battle Sequence Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Sundance Review: David Gordon Green Returns To Form With The Meditative, Funny & Sublime 'Prince Avalanche'

The Playlist By Rodrigo Perez | The Playlist January 21, 2013 at 2:54PM

It's the summer of 1988 and a violent wildfire has swept through Texas, destroying 43,000 acres and some 16,000 homes. In the wake of this horrific devastation -- a freak of nature that no experts can explain -- two highway road crew workers spend the season in isolation, painting and repairing the roads that lie alongside these ravaged forests. Disciplined to a fault, Alvin (Paul Rudd) is perhaps too tightly wound for his own good and has a myopic idea of what a man should be. The boss of this operation, he loves the solitude the job affords him, and being away from the nearby (unnamed) big city. His girlfriend however, isn't entirely sold on the idea. Lance (Emile Hirsch), his partner and polar opposite, is a hopeless, emotionally immature dumbass. He lives for the weekend, getting wasted and getting laid. In fact, the only reason he has this job is because he's the brother of Madison, Alvin's girlfriend.
2
Prince Avalanche Emile Hirsch Paul Rudd

It's the summer of 1988 and a violent wildfire has swept through Texas, destroying 43,000 acres and some 16,000 homes. In the wake of this horrific devastation -- a freak of nature that no experts can explain -- two highway road crew workers spend the season in isolation, painting and repairing the roads that lie alongside these ravaged forests. Disciplined to a fault, Alvin (Paul Rudd) is perhaps too tightly wound for his own good and has a myopic idea of what a man should be. The boss of this operation, he loves the solitude the job affords him, and being away from the nearby (unnamed) big city. His girlfriend however, isn't entirely sold on the idea. Lance (Emile Hirsch), his partner and polar opposite, is a hopeless, emotionally immature dumbass. He lives for the weekend, getting wasted and getting laid. In fact, the only reason he has this job is because he's the brother of Madison, Alvin's girlfriend.

Curiously moving, remarkably funny and refreshing, while featuring a wonderfully oddball tone that's minor key and sublime, "Prince Avalanche" is a major comeback for filmmaker David Gordon Green, who's eclectic career has traversed poetic indies ("George Washington") and left-of-center mainstream comedies ("The Sitter," "Pineapple Express"). But it's also not the exemplary return to form that pundits might be expecting. Its far from a retreat to the safe comfort of his generally more-beloved indie films and instead, it's an exciting step forward, culminating into a progressing blend of his career thus far. It's rejuvenating and vital and it might just be Green's greatest film to date.
Curiously moving, remarkably funny and refreshing, while featuring a wonderfully oddball tone that's minor key and sublime, "Prince Avalanche" is a major comeback for filmmaker David Gordon Green, who's eclectic career has traversed poetic indies ("George Washington") and left-of-center mainstream comedies ("The Sitter," "Pineapple Express"). But it's also not the exemplary return to form that pundits might be expecting. Its far from a retreat to the safe comfort of his generally more-beloved indie films and instead, it's an exciting step forward, culminating into a progressing blend of his career thus far. It's rejuvenating and vital and it might just be Green's greatest film to date.
Curiously moving, remarkably funny and refreshing, while featuring a wonderfully oddball tone that's minor key and sublime, "Prince Avalanche" is a major comeback for filmmaker David Gordon Green, whose eclectic career has traversed beguiling indies ("George Washington") and left-of-center mainstream comedies ("The Sitter," "Pineapple Express"). But the film may not be the exemplary return to form that pundits might be expecting or wanting. It's far from a retreat to the safe comfort of his generally more-beloved indie films and instead, it's an exciting step forward, a progressive blend of his career thus far. Also sweet and very humanistic in its strange little way, "Prince Avalanche" is an affecting meditation on men, relationships, nature and rebirth that might be Green's most vital film to date.
Prince Avalanche Emile Hirsch Paul Rudd

Mostly a two-hander, 'Avalanche' moves quietly, at its own subtle pace. Rudd and Hirsch have chemistry to spare and the film chronicles these men as they argue, fight and swap stories about their estranged lady friend relationships, and though they butt heads often, over time they begin to bond and understand each other on a deeper level. Slightly tyrannical, Alvin always goes off on how surprised he is at how Lance doesn't know how to perform adult, manly tasks like gutting a fish, cooking, building a campfire, etc. He prides himself on his work ethic, and the fact that he's providing for his girlfriend who has a child, by sending her money. But he also never sees her and there's a palpable strain he's dealing with. Lance, on the other hand, is an insecure dope, and his concerns are mostly about chicks, money, and clothes, but his misguided insights provide for a lot of the film's biggest laughs.

Also briefly featuring TV and film character actor Lance LeGault as a local truck driver, every time the old man appears on screen he steals every scene with hilarious Texas wisdom. He chats with them about life, girls, heartache and relationships, gives then some kind of toxic moonshine libation and like a crazy old banshee he's off again, appearing out of nowhere here and there throughout the film. In a strikingly sad and touching sequence, Alvin comes across the film's only other character; an unnamed eldery lady (Joyce Payne), sifting through the ashes of her devastated home and life. She appears briefly and quickly like an apparition and there's certainly a unaccountably ghostly quality to her later on. When Lance goes off to the city to get laid on the weekend, instead of going home to see his girl, Alvin wanders around, going through the burned down houses of others, pretending he's home and talking to a wife that doesn't exist.

Based on the little-seen Icelandic film "Either Way," which this writer hasn't seen, judging from the trailers and clips online, David Gordon Green's effort looks remarkably similar in story and tone. But presumably the director found his own way (and said he aimed for as much in the post-screening Q&A). And to it's refreshing credit, "Prince Avalanche" is a unique and unusual little film. It can be hysterical, but also muted and sometimes even deeply and unexpectedly profound. The picture is also accentuated by the wistful and sonorously beautiful and beatific music of frequent Green music collaborator David Wingo and rock band Explosions In The Sky, the score unlike what you'd expect from a post-rock band that usually features anthemic and burning guitar crescendos. Stylistically, Green creates some wonderfully stunning and evocative visual sequences, which nicely complement the tone of the piece. Featuring the cinematography of Tim Orr, these scenes are vibrant and speak to the heart and soul of the film in creatively unexpected ways.

Contemplative, playfully loose and exploratory (but nothing like mumblecore, to which some have lazily drawn comparisons), "Prince Avalanche" is a distinctly singular David Gordon Green film which feels like the logical, next-phase direction for the filmmaker. He delicately finds the sadness in beauty, the loveliness in destruction, the comical in the unpredictable moment, often to seriously funny and thoughtful effect. Green's work has always been about finding the patience to discover these wonderful moments in life and "Prince Avalanche" is a tour de force in that sense. A wonderfully eccentric examination of unlikely friendships that illuminates the absurd and lovely corners of life, "Prince Avalanche" is a deeply enjoyable, wondrous delight that you should give yourself over to when it eventually hits theaters. [A-]

This article is related to: Review, Sundance Film Festival, Prince Avalanche, David Gordon Green, Paul Rudd, Emile Hirsch


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates