Friday, September 5, 2008

Home Video: Duck

Directed by Nicole Bettauer
Released June 3, 2008 (DVD)

I had been waiting to see this tiny film for such a long time, and I don’t think it ever made it to theatres. If it did, I missed it, and I was delighted to discover that it was in fact in stock at the local Blockbuster. It’s always a risk to make movies with essentially only two characters, especially when one of them is effectively mute (“Cast Away” is an example of doing it right). The attempt pays off here, and a wonderful film results. For those who need some sort of action throughout, this is not the way to go. The film proceeds along at a remarkably slow pace, yet still remains furtively engaging throughout. Philip Baker Hall turns in a terrific lead performance, playing his character the way I wish Richard Jenkins had in “The Visitor” earlier this year. It’s impossible not to love the duck, but Hall gives it his all with humor, wit, and an endearing nature that makes him equally entirely likeable. The slightly futuristic setting presents an interesting message about pollution and waste which doesn’t drown out the enjoyable tendencies o the film, but creates an additional frame of thinking to contemplate. I doubt many will see this film, but I highly recommend it as one of those tiny independent films I wish could reach a larger audience.


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