Blu-ray Paranoid Park [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray 4638106),
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Paranoid Park [Blu-ray]

  • Blu-ray
  • 1 disc
  • Region Free (info)
  • While Gus Van Sant's PARANOID PARK is in keeping with the atmospheric work of the films in his previous "death trilogy" (GERRY, ELEPHANT, LAST DAYS), this time around he's working from a more conventional narrative to capture the awkwardness and pressures of adolescence. The result is a work of breathtakingly personal cinema--intimate, beautiful, and moving. Based on the novel by Blake Nelson, PARANOID PARK tells the troubled story of Alex (Gabe Nevins), a Portland high school student who loves to skateboard. But after accidentally causing the death of a security guard, Alex must come to terms with the guilty feelings that are threatening to overwhelm him. Unable to tell anyone what has happened, including his best friend, Jared (Jake Miller) and his nagging girlfriend, Jennifer (Tayler Momsen), he keeps it all inside at the risk of imploding with guilt.

    Van Sant is an impressionistic and deeply sensitive director. His decision to work with acclaimed cinematographer Christopher Doyle (FALLEN ANGELS, IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE) pays off immeasurably, as Doyle combines naturalistic full-frame 35mm with grainy super-8 to create a lush, moody atmosphere. As usual, Van Sant's sonic tastes are impeccable. He once again employs the music of Elliott Smith to great effect, contrasting Smith's heartbreaking songs with slow-motion imagery, further establishing a sense of confusion and loss. The cast, all recruited from the social networking website MySpace, are more than serviceable, yet it is Nevins who steals the show. His Alex is a likeable figure to whom the audience can relate, further personalizing an already intimate tale. PARANOID PARK is a gorgeous, unforgettable tone poem that captures the myriad complexities of teenage life.
  • Credits
    Gabe Nevins, Taylor Momsen, Jake Miller, Dan Liu, Lauren McKinney, Scott Green, Scott Patrick Green
  • Critic Reviews
    4 stars out of 5 -- "Van Sant has a particular flair for casting....Best of all is newcomer Gabe Nevins..."

    "In PARANOID PARK...skateboarding is a kind of rapture, a transport of delight whose graceful swoops and dodges take time by the scruff of the neck and make a short, crashing break for the sublime."
    Sight and Sound

    4 stars out of 5 -- "This is the one where form and content truly mesh....[With] a more intimate, mesmerising impressionism -- most effectively, in the gorgeous, lyrical slow-mo of the skating scenes."
    Total Film

    3 stars out of 5 -- "Sublime visual touches abound, mostly in the slo-mo skater footage."

    "Gus Van Sant continues to plough his furrow far from Hollywood....[The actors lend] the film its edge of raw authenticity."
    Box Office

    "[A] haunting, voluptuously beautiful portrait....PARANOID PARK is about bodies at rest and in motion, and about longing, beauty, youth and death, and as such as much about the artist as his subject."
    New York Times

    "[A] gorgeously stark, mesmerizingly elliptical story....The movie unwraps its mystery slowly and meticulously, in a roundabout, almost incidental way..."
    Los Angeles Times

    "[A] deeply moving character study of a particular boy and his world..."
    Film Comment

    3.5 stars out of 4 -- "The film's sound design, sampling Beethoven and Nino Rota, among others, links up with visual miracles performed by Rain Kathy Li and Wong Kar-Wai's noted cinematographer, Christopher Doyle....Mesmerizing."
    Rolling Stone

    "[A] humane exploration of the costs of freedom...It's the first of Van Sant's blitzed-generation films in which a young man wakes up instead of shutting down." -- Grade: B+
    Entertainment Weekly

    3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[I]t's terribly strong -- in structural integrity, emotional pull, and particularly visual beauty. Working for the first time with legendary Hong Kong-based cinematographer Christopher Doyle, Van Sant makes the gray-blue skies of his hometown Portland, Oregon, look positively enchanted..."

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