Franz Patrick's Movie Review of Paranoid Park

Rating of

Paranoid Park

Van Sant Continues to Impress
Franz Patrick - wrote on 12/06/08

The thing about apathy is that eventually either you wake up or you shut down. The apathetic main character (Gabe Nevins) in this picture woke up and it was an interesting journey. I found this picture, directed by Gus Van Sant, admirable in several ways. The poetic lyricism embedded in some scenes was appropriate when it comes to showing the character’s innocence; the scenes that most people will think are “pointless” are so close to real life and they made me laugh. Pretty much all the actors brought something natural to the table and made me wonder if the events in this film really happened to someone. Furthermore, I liked that the story was not told in chronological order so it forces the audience to pay attention and reward those who stuck with the characters from beginning to end. The most recognizable actor here is Taylor Momsen, for the fans of “Gossip Girl.” At first, I didn’t know it was her but the more she appeared in the film, the more I realized that it was really her. She was good as the annoying “girlfriend” of Nevins, and she reminded me of high school when everyone’s trying too hard too fit in. I think the breakout star here is Nevins because at first glance I thought he wasn’t really acting. But as the movie goes on, I noticed the little subtleties that he projected into his character, specifically the scenes just before the tragedy happened and the way he copes after that life-altering moment. As much as I like this film, I must say that this is not for everyone. If you’re a fan of Van Sant’s other film called “Elephant” (a personal favorite of mine), then you will most likely enjoy this film because they do have some similarities. It’s unfortunate because gems like “Paranoid Park” come out once in a while but not a lot of people bother to see them because most people prefer to watch Hollywood films. Well, at least I have something to enthusiastically recommend to friends on a boring weekend.

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