With such an obscure premise it’s truly a testament to all involved that this actually works. Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch star as two ostensibly different types of people forced into a situation that requires interaction between them. It’s a simple story and a tiny cast. Any success this may have will depend on the performances of the actors. Not to mention a turn in the right direction from writer/director David Gordon Green who made the very lousy comedies Your Highness and the not-quite-as-terrible-but-still-very-weak film The Sitter. If these are the only two of Green’s films you’ve seen your opinion of him would most certainly be skewed. He has a talent and finally that is proven with this latest effort, Prince Avalanche.
The pace is slow, but not without purpose, and with such a slow hand it shows the beauty of the setting surrounding the two main characters. It’s desolate, abandoned and even filled with heart break. I believe that the purpose of this indie comedy is to show the difference between loneliness and being alone. Sometimes we perceive one to be the other, and then when we realize this, a decision must be made to leave things be or to change in an effort to better yourself. That is the problem with not knowing the difference and I think these characters are going through this in their own unique ways. In the beginning neither one really understands the other, but with time and a few odd conversations they come to realize that maybe they can offer something to each other. Alvin perceives Lance to be an idiot and Lance sees Alvin as a loser who shuts himself out from other people. After all, the job he chose to do is one that creates immense amounts of time with no people.
Alvin (Paul Rudd) is a simple man with simple desires in life; he wants to earn money painting roads as a highway worker and hopefully create a nice life for him and his wife, Madison. Lance (Emile Hirsch) is a younger man who sees himself as “old and fat”, at least that’s how he puts it. Despite this image he has of what he looks like he still goes out for fun, looking for women with whom he wants to… get to know better… for one night. Alvin loves his job for one simple reason, solitude. Lance can’t stand being away from the city; naturally Lance becomes a bit testy with Alvin and vice versa. Lance is Madison’s brother. He got the job because Alvin decided to give the apparent screw up a chance to straighten up and get his life in order. Alvin is a straight laced, by the book sort of guy, and Lance is a loose, want-to-have-fun-all-the-time sort, so tensions build as time goes on. The particular area they are fixing up was lost to a large wild fire that destroyed virtually everything in the vicinity, including the road. This is a simple tale about two very different souls who turn out to be dealing with rather similar circumstances when it comes to the women in their lives. Sure, they butt heads a lot but in the end, with nothing but the two to keep each other company, they come to an understanding of what the other is really about; and maybe they can come to be friends of some kind.
I have to be honest, about a half hour into the film I started to doubt whether I wanted to finish it but I did and I’m glad I did so. It takes a while for it to get going and even when it does, in fact, get moving, it moves at a snail’s pace. This is not a movie that’s in a hurry; it takes its time and knows what it wants to show and that is the relationship between these two guys. Not having a need to show anything else it’s allowed to keep it slow but with intention. It is nothing more than two men in the middle of a desolate roadway painting lines and talking with one another about the trials of their lives. As I said, it is a testament to the actors and the direction from Green that makes this in anyway entertaining. This is not a laugh out loud every few minutes sort of comedy, it is a heart filled character piece with innocent humor thrown in for good measure. As a fan of both the lead actors I wanted to see this and now that I have, I’m glad.
Rated R for: some sexual content
Run Time: 94 minutes
After Credits Scene: None
Starring: Paul Rudd, Emile Hirsch, Lynn Shelton (Voice), Lance LeGault
Directed By: David Gordon Green
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 3/ Acting: 4/ Directing: 4/ Visuals: 2.5
OVERALL: 3.5 Nerdskulls
Check out the trailer below: