INDIEWATCH: Paul Rudd goes dramatic in 'Prince Avalanche'
"Prince Avalanche" (2013)
Starring: Paul Rudd, Emile Hirsch
Written, directed by: David Gordon Green
Rating: R for some sexual content
Available: Amazon Prime, Netflix Instant
Paul Rudd's quickly become a king of mainstream comedy with the "Anchorman" franchise and films like "I Love You, Man" and more, but he takes a dramatic turn in the new indie film "Prince Avalanche."
Rudd plays Alvin, an uptight road worker who hires his girlfriend's brother, Lance (Emile Hirsch), an unassuming and raucous character. Their personalities clash immediately as they're cast into a remote area of the Texas wilderness to work for the summer.
The first 20 minutes of this film seem to lag with scene-setting shots, but Alvin and Lance's dialogue picks up the pace.
"The wilderness makes me horny," Lance says, as Alvin rolls his eyes.
Their characterizations are set in this exchange. Feeling small among vast landscapes makes Lance crave intimacy, while Alvin uses the environment as an escape.
The location of "Prince Avalanche" plays a big role as it takes place in an area recovering from wildfires, and themes of solitude, longing for the past and loss are subtle and somewhat palpable. Alvin runs into a woman (Joyce Payne, who is a real-life wildfire survivor) searching her home's remains and mourning the loss of her belongings, which -- she says -- validate her existence. Later, like a wanting child, Alvin plays house by himself in what's left of another residence.
Rudd plays drama so well, I hope to see more of it, and Hirsch portrays Lance with pizzazz and flair, but halfway through this movie, I was disappointed he wasn't able to exercise his acting chops. (Remember "Into the Wild"?)
Their relationship is the heart of this film as they grapple with the women they've left for the summer. Though well-acted, "Prince Avalanche" is a slow-moving character study peppered with moments of intrigue.
Director/writer David Gordon Green, who also directed "Pineapple Express" and HBO's "Eastbound and Down," made interesting editing choices -- laying dialogue over character close-ups from a previous shot. But in the end, that's not enough for a rewatch.
I blame the story and still hold out hope for director Green and confidence for Rudd in any acting venture he pursues.
IndieWatch is a weekly review of independent film and documentaries.
Lavine is Accent editor for the Grand Forks Herald. Call her at (701) 780-1265, (800) 477-6572, ext. 1265, or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Read her blog at reeltalk.areavoices.com or follow her on Twitter at @AccentEditorGF.