REVIEW: Get Low

15 12 2010

It’s always nice when a movie like “Get Low” comes along.  While it’s nothing earth-shattering for cinema as we know it, the movie is just a witty but serious drama propelled by great performances by capable actors and an interesting script that keeps the plot moving.

Robert Duvall stars as the aging hermit Felix Bush, living pleasantly in solitude as the town surrounding him seeks to make him a sort of urban legend.  Rumors abound that he’s a cold-blooded killer and a devil worshipper.  Granted, Felix doesn’t do much to stop these notions, chasing off trespassers with a shotgun and putting up “beware of mule” signs.  But all of a sudden, Felix decides to emerge with a grand plan – a living funeral for the entire town to attend.

It’s hard to tell exactly why Felix wants this at first, particularly because Duvall has given him such a hardened exterior that masks all his true intentions.  Yet pulsating underneath is a heart and soul, and only an actor like Duvall can make it beat in such a profound way.  Slowly but surely, he unravels the character until we see Felix completely unexposed, and the sheer raw emotion makes for a powerful last scene where Duvall goes broke.  The success of the entire movie rests on Duvall and his ability to convey a whole host of emotions at once, and “Get Low” works because he is in peak form.

While the whole business of “getting low” keeps things fairly serious, there’s plenty to keep the movie a light and enjoyable watch.  Bill Murray is perfectly cast as money-grubbing funeral parlor owner Frank Quinn, who makes the living funeral something of a carnival attraction to make up for bad business.  It’s a sly, devious, and understatedly humorous character, and Murray milks it for all the comedy he can get.  It’s Felix who gets us to start chuckling as he unwillingly does ridiculous promotional stunts, but it’s Frank who keeps us laughing with his off-handed comments.  Add in Lucas Blacks as Frank’s second-in-command along for the ride and Sissy Spacek as Felix’s old love to make things grave, and you have one heck of an acting ensemble.

There’s nothing to go proclaim from the rooftops about “Get Low.”  It’s not going to amount to much more than nice acting, a suitably engaging script, and a glimpse at some beautiful Southern woods and forests.  But sometimes, that’s just the kind of movie you need.  B+

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2 responses

15 12 2010
Fitz

I see a SAG Ensemble Award in Get Low’s future.

15 12 2010
Marshall

I don’t know if I would say it’s THAT good, but I certainly enjoyed it.

At least not in 2010 with “The Social Network,” “Black Swan,” “Inception,” “The Town,” and “Shutter Island” as distinctly better in my book.

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