Paranoid Park

Leah and I saw this movie on Tuesday, at an IFC center advance screening open to members only. This was my first time attending such an event, and it was surprisingly not very crowded. Perhaps because the movie started right at 6 pm?

Anyway, Paranoid Park is the new film by Gus Van Sant. I really liked his last one (Last Days, starring Michael Pitt and about the days leading to the death of Kurt Cobain), but I think Elephant was pretty underwhelming. I guess Good Will Hunting is okay, and I actually just found out that he directed the film adaptation of Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, which is a Tom Robbins novel ( but not my favorite). I should probably watch that at some point.

Paranoid Park is about a teenager in Portland who, while hanging around a pretty rough skatepark, gets involved with a murder investigation. The movie does a good job of putting the audience right inside the head of this boy through his writing of the story of Paranoid Park in his (a little too chic?) Moleskine notebook. Not so surprisingly, being inside the young skater kid’s head isn’t the most dramatic place in the world, regardless of the events that unfold around him. The kid manages to keep his cool throughout most of the movie (with a couple of exceptions), and Van Sant conveys this feeling through slow and quiet shots of skaters doing their thing, or the main character walking through hallways, or taking a shower, or sitting on the beach, with kind of intense experiments in noise and static playing in the foreground. This is why I love ambient music! I really enjoyed how the music was in the foreground for these shots, and such a significant part of the film. Because of this, Paranoid Park definitely had an avant-garde feel to it, but not so much as to detract from the plot or the actors at all.

The main character, played by Gabe Nevins, just turned sixteen years old. For such a young actor, he was really powerful on the screen. This review by the Hollywood Reporter, is pretty accurate in saying that he wasn’t very expressive, but it did work super well for his character’s age, social situation, and reaction to the events unfolding around him. Maybe this is totally creepy, but he is also pretty hot. I didn’t think so at the beginning of the movie, but by the end of it I was pretty into him. I mean, look at him:

Totally dreamy, right? Anyway, some girl from Gossip Girl was also in the film as his totally annoying, but kind of hilarious, girlfriend. Her ridiculousness caused comic relief, for sure.

I also really liked that the movie was filmed in Portland; it provided a nice backdrop to the plot and the skateboarding. The laid-back, post-grunge atmosphere was appropriate for the overall tone of the movie. It made me want to go there again, for more than 24 hours!

Maybe some kind of rating system would be a good addition to this review. I give Paranoid Park **** ½ (out of *****)!

(stills from the film’s official website)

love, klk

One Response to “Paranoid Park”

  1. No, it’s not weird. He is the hottest little 16 year old ever. His friend was a little hottie, too.

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