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2004 Mini Reviews

Gerry (2003)

Directed by Gus Van Sant
Starring Casey Affleck, Matt Damon

Gerry is the story of two men who get lost on a hiking trail, placing them in a situation where their own survival is threatened.

The problem with the movie is that it is overly done. I'm not sure whether this was purposeful or not, but I don't see how the filmmakers could not know what an unwatchable film this would become.

Most of the shots go on far longer than necessary, and not enough happens to keep the viewer engaged. It is almost as if the movie is comprised of a series of stills, separated by a few scenes of activity.

Here are some examples (estimates, I did not time these). Some might consider these spoilers, but I think of them as potty break notification.

3 minutes spent watching a car drive down a road.
3 minutes spent watching two people sit silenty in a car.
5 minutes spent watching two men walk side by side.
3 minutes spent watching one man in a desperate pose as the camera circles him.
8 minutes spent watching two man walk slowly, one a good bit ahead of the other.

These shots border on ridiculous, and you have to wonder whether the premise of the film (everything is gerried) holds true to the creation of the film as well.

Aside from the unaccessibility of the film, there is some merit. First of all, the photography and scenery are absolutely gorgeous -- some of the best all year. Even though the film is difficult to watch, it is easy to look at, if that makes sense. The shots are breathtaking and unforgettable, and only partly because they rarely change.

The acting is solid as well. The scenes where the two characters interact with each other are extremely well-done. The dialog is great. It feels and seems natural. I was especially impressed with one scene that I will call the "dirt mattress" scene. It went on for probably around 7-10 minutes, but unlike most of the rest of the film, it was centered on dialog and interaction between the characters. It is a total of three takes, but there is one take that is easily 5-6 minutes long. Matt Damon especially shined during this scene, considering how much his character had to

This could have been a phenomenal movie. Instead, it is just a pretty bore.

Score: 4/10