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Review

Film lacks creative amusement

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September 23, 2010

“Get Low” is a true story taking place in the rural, early 1900’s United States starring Bill Murray (‘nuff said) and Robert Duvall.

So when a friend asked if I wanted to check it out, the choice was made.

“Get Low” tells the story of Felix Bush (Duvall); a crazy, infamous old hermit and the subject of myth, legend, and stories told to scare children into eating their vegetables in four counties.

After waking from an interest-seeding dream/nightmare about a darkened figure leaping from a flaming house in the middle of the night, Felix gets behind the mule (literally) and rides into town for the first time in four decades to buy himself his own funeral party.

After being refused by the local church (“You can’t buy forgiveness. It’s free, but you have to ask for it,” says the town reverend) he is approached by the local funeral home owned by former used car salesman (complete with pencil mustache and pinky ring) Frank Quinn (Murray) and his sole employee buddy (Lucas Black) who are in desperate need of business, as people don’t seem to get themselves killed out in the country like they do in Chicago.

Quinn agrees to take Bush’s business and throw the outlandish and borderline blasphemous funeral party, despite Buddy’s reservations about it.

As the story continues, Felix’s past is slowly revealed as are his reasons for secluding himself and wanting to attend his own funeral, and the mystery of his apparent involvement with the town sweetheart, Mattie Darrow (Sissy Spacek). The film is hit or miss with the acting, mostly hit though.

Lucas Black does his job well enough even though he keeps making the exact same facial expression throughout the entire movie.

Murray also gets his job done providing the much needed comic relief in what turns out to be a very morose tale.

It was also nice to see him do a little bit of actual acting versus seeming to just happen onto a movie set. Aside from successfully exuding the awesomeness that is expected of a “no-nonsense, take what I want and do what I want” old recluse with such a crazy-chic hair/beard combo, he really brings the character to life with several of the nuances.

One might encounter an individual who hasn’t had any type of social interaction in half a lifetime. The ending does promote a bit of critical thought, but I guess I’m just not sure what the director really wanted the audience to focus on. The implications of Bush’s self-imprisonment, his relationship with God, and a weird possible Christ-figure connection involving his miraculous skill as a carpenter are all present and ready for reflection, but none of these things seem to really develop as much as they should.

Overall a noble effort with many of the right ingredients, just not quite enough time in the creative oven.

Anthony Orlando is a math major and physics minor. He runs for the UW-River Falls cross country team. He once met Dan Auerbach and is a minor celebrity in Malaysia.