by Brian Barth
Get Low (Aaron Schneider, 2009)
Yesterday was Sunday, September 26, and in my mind, the first fully realized day of fall. As I was riding to the Landmark Theater in Kendall to catch the 1:25 showing of Get Low, I saw that the humble Boston skyline was subdued under the thick cover of clouds. The muted gray seeped into everything, and though the summer smoldered it had lost contrast and color. What better time is there to turn to film, which in itself is just color and contrast? A descending day of white and gray is the perfect world to abandon for another; it is a variable, where nothing is being missed.
One of the most harrowing moments in The Road comes early, when the boy’s father (Viggo Mortensen) reminds him how to kill himself: put the gun in your mouth, aim upwards, and pull the trigger. When the time comes you’re gonna have to do it just like everybody else. The moment perfectly encapsulates the film’s unpretentious bleakess. I must seem to you like I’m from another world, the father tells his son. Mortensen’s pale, emaciated body carries encyclopedic knowledge of a world that has passed to ruins—when he dies, it will die also, making room for the innocence of the child (Kodi Smit-McPhee), and his overwhelming humanity. It’s something, we’re reminded at the end of the film, the father may have been close to forgetting. (more…)