Friday, July 30, 2010

Movie with Abe: Get Low

Get Low
Directed by Aaron Schneider
Released July 30, 2010

The life of a hermit is one of solitude and independence. Yet living a life away from others can often encourage the spread of rumors related to why one secludes himself from society. It’s not uncommon that the assertions going around town are actually true. In the case of Felix Bush, a resident of 1930s Tennessee, many stories, both false and true, were circulated about him. In a far less conventional turn of events, Bush decided he wanted to throw a funeral party where everyone could come and share all of the horrible stories they had heard about him – before he died. It’s that concept which gets “Get Low” going and establishes it as a singularly quirky and irreverent film.

Duvall, Black, and Murray star in the film

Veteran actor Robert Duvall, who stars as Bush, is one of the main reasons to see the film. Duvall rejects the comparison of Bush to his first screen role, Boo Radley, explaining that Radley “kept to himself because he was a little off in the head” whereas Felix chose to live this way. On set, Duvall commanded a level of respect similar to the level of intimidation compelled by Bush. Costar Bill Murray, who plays funeral home director Frank Quinn, says that “we were all in it to serve Bobby” (Duvall). Murray’s comedic roots help him craft an oddly sardonic and unusual character in Quinn, who jumps at the chance to plan a funeral party for Bush, thinking much more about the money than the strange nature of things. Respected actors Duvall and Murray are joined by Sissy Spacek in the cast as an old flame of Bush’s who seems to be the only character with any sort of intimate knowledge of him.

Duvall discusses the film

Among the award-winning cast is a surprise standout rookie, Lucas Black. The Alabama native, whose previous credits include lead roles in the film version “Friday Night Lights” and “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift,” plays Quinn’s young assistant Buddy, who questions whether honoring Bush’s request is right. Director Aaron Schneider describes Buddy as the “moral cornerstone of the movie,” adding that Bush immediately likes him whereas he doesn’t take the same shine to Quinn or any other character in the film. Black is a particularly good choice for the part because, as Schneider explains, “there’s nothing non-south about Lucas Black, who has a crazy twang even for a Southern accent.” Murray says his accent is so thick that even his mother can’t understand him. Just as the young actor performs commendably amidst far more experienced actors, Buddy too has to play with the adults and sticks out as extremely memorable and relatable.

Murray and Spacek discuss the film

Black isn’t the only one working with more seasoned professionals. This is Schneider’s first feature film, though he won an Oscar for his 2003 short film “Two Soldiers.” In his feature debut, he smartly handles his talented cast and creates a compelling movie that’s alternately desolate and funny. As its premise indicates, this is a peculiar tale, and as such the film doesn’t flow entirely smoothly. The strength of the main actors, particularly 79-year-old Duvall and 27-year-old Black, elevates this to resounding experience with a decidedly unique outlook on life.


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