Tuesday, March 15, 2005


This self-indulgent bilge is about — absolutely nothing!
— Rex Reed, New York Observer

Gus van Sant, director of Good Will Hunting and Elephant (which I also reviewed here) has recently departed from conventional filmmaking. Some people loved Elephant; some hated it. Hardly anyone dithered halfway. It’s the same with Gerry, a film in which two young friends hiking in the wilderness get lost, and stay lost, over a few days.

The camera barely moves: the two characters move across the shot, across the wilderness, looking for the path, looking for a remembered landmark or other, looking for the highway. They fail. There’s no water anywhere. Nights pass. They rarely speak. They get weaker. You, like them, think longingly of the car they appeared in at the start. You think of the comfort of a simple signboard. You fret.

It’s excruciatingly slow, and builds an agony of worry, strung–out panic, and a desire to run to your mummy’s arms and be told everything’s going to be alright. You feel the highly troubling alienation of being truly lost. Annoyingly, reviewers wax far too lyrical about films like this, using words like “existential” and “discourse”. Actually, this is just a feature–length representation of two people getting lost which very accurately replicates the associated feelings in the viewer and as such you will either want to see it or you won’t want to see it at all.

For my money (£15 for the DVD to be exact) it’s as true and beautiful a work of art as a haiku about a leaf, for example, and just as important and valid.

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