Prince Avalanche

Studio: Magnolia
Directed by David Gordon Green

Aug 09, 2013 Web Exclusive
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You'd be hard-pressed to trace a linear trajectory of David Gordon Green's unusual career, or discern just how the filmmaker went from smaller character studies to big stoner comedies. His latest, Prince Avalanche, is closer to the former than the latter, but doesn't totally forsake the puff-puff-passing portion of his audience.

Prince Avalance is a loose remake of the 2011 Icelandic film, Either Way. The setup is simple: dull, down-to-earth Alvin (Paul Rudd) hires his girlfriend's hard-partying, ne'er-do-well little bro Lance (Emile Hirsch) as his assistant, repairing damaged roads in a remote strip of Texan woodland ravaged by wildfires. The duo, with their mismatched dispositions, do butt heads as expected, but as the long days of hard work and isolation wear on, they start to rub off on each other.

There's not much more to it than that. The major plot turns are motivated by events occurring off-screen, and only two other characters have any notable amount of screen time. Green has copped to basing some of the inspiration for Lance and Alvin on dueling aspects of his own personality. (Prince Avalanche could very easily have pulled a cheap trick and twisted the leads into two sides of a single character, but thankfully it doesn't.) In some sections, it does feel like the screenwriter is having a conversation with himself on the page; if Rudd and Hirsch didn't have such amiable chemistry, those passages would be harder to endure. Their charisma goes a long way-as does the stunning nature photography, and a hypnotic score by Explosions in the Sky.

Taking all of these elements into consideration-the intense soundtrack, colorful imagery, and meandering, philosophical dialogue-it seems perhaps Green hasn't completely moved away from making stoner films just yet. Prince Avalanche certainly takes its time getting anywhere, but it's hard to complain too much when the company's good and the scenery is this nice.

Author rating: 6/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10


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