Paranoid Park (2008)

A film that had me going paranoid.

Late one night in a Portland skate park, 16-year-old Alex (Gabe Nevins) accidentally kills a security guard and chooses to keep it a secret. But guilt begins to take its toll on his relationships with his friend Macy (Lauren McKinney), his girlfriend (Taylor Momsen) and eventually his sanity.

Gus Van Sant has directed mainstream films like Good Will Hunting, and Finding Forrster, and has found some success with that. Now he focuses on the really indie films.

This film has a lot of Van Sants trademarks. The stylized scenes, grittiness, minimal dialogue, non-actors, and of course the coming-0f-age films that always are the main theme in his films. Paranoid Park isn’t any different there is a lot of style and ofr the most part it adds a lot of effect of what the character himself is feeling, but there is just too much. There is just too much of this extra long crap that just adds on to it, being a bit too boring. The feeling of being alone does connect, but way too many times is there just one slow-mo scene of him taking a shower or staring into space. The film actually had a right amount of material for probably 50 minutes, but the extra material just seemed padded on.

I also felt like Van Sant uses the same kind of story I have seen time and time again, about how these reckless kids, do nothing but trouble, and none of their parents are involved what so ever. But I also, have to credit his direction because I feel like the film gets enough of that tragic emotion mostly from him. He has enough of that dreadful music and scenes, to keep us at a loss like the main character I just wish he didn’t make it so slow. The slow-pace after awhile will tired you to death and although at times it feels needed, overall it just adds on more strain.

The acting here is OK to say the least, since half of them are non-professionals, and auditioned from Myspace. The lead Gabe Nevins does good with this material because there isn’t a lot to give him other than some pretty raw scenes, and he handles them pretty nicely. The other people in this film are just dull and play out a lot like the typical stereotypes of teens that you always see.

Consensus: Though with the right direction and mood, Paranoid Park succeeds at a technical level, but is overall dull and gloomy, with too much style for one little movie, that could have been better.



One comment

  1. I’d have to disagree. I think the main reasons why this movie worked for me were the reasons why it didn’t work for you. The dullness and the gloominess made the movie stand out from other movies that feature teenagers being caught up in reckless behavior (and not paying the price). Van Sant didn’t want to glorify the things that were happening on screen. Instead, the successfully shifted the film’s focus on the kid and the guilt that was tearing him apart.

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