Prince Avalanche Review
Writer and director David Gordon Green is an interesting one. He is one of the very few filmmakers who can make something gross-out, crazy funny (Pineapple Express), he can make something startlingly intense (Undertow) and he can make uplifting drama (George Washington). I don't think there are too many filmmakers out there with such a wide-range catalog, such potent control on a wide variety of genres. Perhaps he likes challenge, perhaps he's got a lot to say, no matter the reason, he's an intriguing filmmaker who should be allowed to flourish.
His latest movie, "Prince Avalanche," is small in scale but big in heart. It tells the very simple story of two men (Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch) who spend the summer working road construction, painting highways. Paul Rudd's character is named Alvin. Alvin has done this type of work before and enjoys it very much. Alvin is the kind of guy who doesn't mind being alone, he may almost prefer it. He needs help though so he gets his wife's brother, Lance, the gig. Lance is played by Hirsch and he's a typical young guy. He wants to drink and he wants to get laid. Lance may seem like a one-dimensional character, but Hirsch is able to evoke lots of charm out of the character.
"Prince Avalanche" could have been a tricky movie. Lance and Alvin are pretty much the entire cast. Sure a couple other characters come in and out, but its mainly the story of these two guys. It is always tough making a movie revovling such a small cast, however Rudd and Hirsch do profound work. They create a friendship that is human, confident and full of energy. And yes, there are plenty of funny parts, why waste the efforts of both Hirsch and Rudd? Of course there is funny stuff. However, with these two actors and their career past, it was almost shocking how effective the drama was.
What also makes "Prince Avalanche" a delight is how it is able to flesh out its ideas. Lance and Alvin are on-sight the whole movie, camping out to go to work the next day. At first Lance thinks this will be a lonely experience, as Alvin embraces being alone. Not everything is perfect in Alvin's life though, as his wife doesn't understand why he's constantly alone. The film really captures how being alone can not always be the answer. Plus, both men learn good ideas about life from each other. It all works because the film is so confident.
At the end of the day, "Prince Avalanche" is charming and funny throughout. Rudd and Hirsch are able to really sell this thing, and the result is another winner for David Gordon Green. Sure its over before it really begins and the pacing is a slight issue. But the film's nitpicks are far and in between. I had a good time with this movie and I am sure you will too.
FINAL GRADE: B+