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Monday, May 26, 2008

OLD JOY (2006)

Daniel London and Will Oldman, friends hitting their 30s, are not as close as they once were. London’s about to become a father while Oldman holds to their wandering, New Age counterculture ways. The inevitable loss of commonality between them plays out in rapt quiet with Ozu-esque interstitiary shots of nature while the boys search for a natural hot springs. This very small film seems designed to impress film-fest audiences and critics weary of the latest Hollywood blockbuster, but anyone can see where it’s going in the first ten minutes (of a running time that vies with DUMBO for all-time shortest feature) and the rest of the film is, frankly, navel gazing. It’s as artfully arranged as a Japanese vase of flowers, but megger Kelly Reichardt wears its lack of narrative/dramatic incident like a badge of honor. Points for tough-mindedness and getting the damn thing made without compromise.

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