Review: Paranoid Park
Directed by: Gus Van Sant
PLOT: A drama adapted from Blake Nelsons book about a teenage skateboarder haunted by an accidental yet unspeakable act he committed. The film portrays the complex lives of maturing high school kids at crossroads in their adolescent lives.
CRITIQUE: The creator of MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO, GOOD WILL HUNTING, ELEPHANT and DRUGSTORE COWBOY, recruits a group of adolescent amateurs in this impressive film to depict the confusion, anxiety, pain and torment that often haunts teenagers on different levels. The way in which Van Sant captures the various emotions displays a magical vision of broken innocence. The visual direction of brilliant cinematographer Chris Doyle is so artistic it captivates the audience in every frame.
Shot loosely in an artistic trippy, slow motion style, the film creates a perception of feeling like you are trapped in a dream sequence and immersed in the skateboarders dilemma. The music is quite diverse and compliments every scene and action appropriately, thus enhancing the moods and sensations of the teenagers. There are some awesome slow mo skateboarding sequences, which capture the sport in such a mesmerizing fluidity. Alternating between present and past seasons, flashbacks, ambiguous conversations and broken scenes, the story comes together nicely and clarifies the incoherent and confusing parts.
Actor Gabe Nevins, who is cast as the frightened skateboarder Alex, is the perfect embodiment of a lost teenager trying to make sense of his conflicted emotions. The lost look on his face and indifferent attitude to his girlfriend are a perfect display of what his character is feeling. As he tries to figure out how to deal with and forgive himself for the frightful night, the skateboarder finds solace in purging his sins on paper. He cleanses himself of his greatest guilt by jotting things down as he feels them.
You cant help but empathize with his character based on the look of confusion and torment on Alexs face. Anyone who is or has been a teenager can relate to the angst and hopelessness often felt at that particular time. I for one felt grateful for having survived and passed those years. With the artistic assistance of Doyle, Van Sant creates a visually satisfying and psychologically stimulating film that is inspiring and relatable. -- 7/10
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