David Gordon Green’s new comedy-drama “Prince Avalanche” is a contemplative film about two men out in the country who struggle to understand their lives and each other. Alvin (Paul Rudd) and his girlfriend’s brother Lance (Emile Hirsch) work together re-painting traffic lines on a country highway that was destroyed by a wildfire. The job is monotonous, the days are long and they only have each other to rely on for entertainment. “Prince Avalanche” follows these two men on the job, focusing on their struggles to understand each other and the difficulties that they have left at home. The film is completely character- and dialogue-driven, making “Prince Avalanche” a meditative and reflective film.
As characters, Alvin and Lance could not be more different. Alvin has a very serious, no-nonsense kind of demeanor. He is extremely focused on getting his job done and sending money back to his girlfriend at home. He has moments of kindness, but for the most part sticks to his highly thoughtful and solemn persona. While he misses his girlfriend at home, he loves the moments of solitude he gets to spend outdoors.
Lance, on the other hand, is only out in the country to do a job. He misses his city life and the multiple girls he’s left behind. He doesn’t take much of anything seriously. At one point during the film, he can’t find Alvin in the morning to begin work, so instead he sits down on the side of the road and starts painting his shoes with the poisonous yellow paint. Lance certainly provides the comedic relief in the film. He is a character that seems to mean well, but is completely ignorant to how inconsiderate he can be.
Rudd and Hirsch have amazing on-screen chemistry, which is key, given the fact that they are almost the only two who appear in the entire film. Both actors successfully step outside of their usual characters with this film, which is impressive to see. Rudd portrays the serious, worried, responsible boss very well, while Hirsch portrays the younger, goofy, ignorant, well-meaning moron brilliantly. Together they provide touching and humorous moments for the audience to enjoy, and by the end, it is hard not to fall in love with them both.
While Rudd and Hirsch’s performances are what really make the film, it is important to note the score. Green collaborated with the band “Explosions in the Sky” to make this film. Their music, the contemplative tone of the film and the cinematography come together beautifully. Aside from Rudd and Hirsch’s performances and chemistry, the score put together for this film is what has received the most praise.
This film may not be for all audiences. It is completely centered around the dialogue of these two characters and the artistic aspects of the film, including the notable score. If you are looking for an action-packed, plot-based, exciting film, this may not be for you. However, if audiences are able to accept this film for what it is – a beautiful reflection of two men coming to terms with themselves and their lives – then it is sure to be enjoyed.
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