Twitter Plot Summary: Two men go on a voyage of discovery as they re-paint road markings after a bush fire has destroyed the area.
Director: David Gordon Green
Key Cast: Paul Rudd, Emile Hirsch, Lance LeGault, Joyce Payne
Five Point Summary:
1. This looks like a slow burner…
2. Joyce Payne looking for her pilot’s licence. Genuinely touching.
3. Paul Rudd pretending the house is still standing. Funny.
4. Emile Hirsch goes Rambo on Paul Rudd. For a bit.
5. I’m starting to wonder if the truck driver’s really there too…
Set in 1988 in the aftermath of a massive bush fire in the United States, we join two men out in the wilds, repainting lines on the roads running through thr forest and installing marker posts for drivers. One, Alvin (Rudd, sporting an awesome moustache) enjoys his life out in the middle of nowhere, embracing the solitude that comes with spending most of your waking hours in the middle of a forest. The other, Lance (Hirsch, looking and acting like a young, blonde Jack Black), is the younger brother of Alvin’s girlfriend Madison. Lance’s main interest, being a young, testosterone-infused man, is going into the nearby town and finding him some lady related action.
It’s surprising how far you can go when your entire story takes place in a forest. It’s essentially a two hander between Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch with occasional appearances from an old man (bringing forth gifts of alcohol) and an old woman searching for her pilot’s licence amongst the rubble of her former home. The interesting thing about her is that she’s got an air of the supernatural about her – is she really there? Is she the spirit of the forest? Does she not realise that paper will burn rather easily in a fire? It turns out that Joyce Payne was actually a resident in the area and the film crew happened to find her searching the remains of her house for her licence. Knowing in hindsight that this was a genuine event, it makes what was a touching scene something even more emotionally resonant. Rudd and Hirsch, by the way, are an excellent buddy pairing and they are genuinely engaging throughout. Which is lucky, otherwise this could’ve been a total disaster.
Prince Avalanche is understandably heavy on the bromance – initially there’s an uneasy tension between them that grows into grudging acceptance. Much of their unease stems from their relationships with women, who we never see but are referred to constantly. When their respective relationships end up in the dirt, they turn on each other, causing most of the script’s laughs. But it’s equally as good when we see them waxing lyrical about their disparate lifestyles, neither one really understanding how the other manages to go about their lives. I actually saw many parallels between myself and Alvin. He is quite happy in his own company and content to get on with things on his own terms. Company of others isn’t a problem but he doesn’t need them around to be productive. Unfortunately for him it’s also something that sets him apart from girlfriend Madison. On the other hand is Lance, who I share less characteristics with – he’ll chase whatever’s available, including a woman who’s in a relationship with his best friend. Not speaking from experience, but that’s a recipe for disaster my friend. Ahh, the folly of youth.
Ultimately both characters, despite their differences, come to terms with the issues they encounter and there’s a satisfying conclusion to their story arc. Much like in real life, things don’t always turn out perfectly, but Alvin and Lance have gone on a journey together and have come out the other side with a newfound respect for each other and the world around them. It’s a gentle journey for the most part – even the sections where they’re chasing each other through the forest are quite restrained. It’s a full-on character piece that has a lot to say about the world, about relationships and about bromance. It’s a win on all counts.
Favourite scene: Paul Rudd pretending to move around the house, despite it having burnt down.
Quote: “There’s a difference between being lonely and being alone. I reap the rewards of solitude.”
Silly Moment: Rudd and Hirsch have a disagreement that ends with Hirsch chasing Rudd through the forest.