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Movie Review: Paranoid Park

Alternate Title: Dead Man Skateboarding

Story: I like director, artist and writer Gus Van Sant but I hated this film. Based on the novel by Blake Nelson, Van Sant covers terrain that has been his signature on the big screen. You all know his characters - the disaffected, dispirited, withdrawn, outsider teenage boy filled with angst, ennui and in most cases, without an on-screen reason that is discernible to the audience.

Young Alex' parents are going through a divorce. He finds solace in skateboarding. He accidentally gets involved in a murder and the film rewinds several times to go over what Alex does after the incident. It is a long, arduous rewind. It is not a revealing depiction of what someone might do if faced with this predicament.

I found the character of Alex to be self-indulgent, deadpan and without any redeeming qualities. It us hard to have any empathy for a character who has no character.

True, I did not like the film but I did like the music and the cinematography. That said, I am not giving up on Gus Van Sant but cannot recommend this film to anyone but boys around the age of 16.

Acting: First time actors are everywhere and it shows. The camera rarely leaves Alex (Gabe Nevins) and it should have.

Predilection: I like Gus Van Sant.

Critters: A black dog in a brief cameo on the beach.

Food: No time to eat on a skateboard. There is a frappucino and apple pie.

Sex Spectrum: A quickie first time sex act - without any emotion.

Soundtrack: The soundtrack is the most interesting part of the film.

Opening Titles: White type in the upper left hand corner of the screen superimposed over a bridge in Portland.

Visual Art: There is some interesting camera work but not enough to take the focus off of the bad film.

Theater Audience: A handful of Gus Van Sant, skateboarding or teenage boy fans.

Weather: It was gloomy in Portland.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: The accidentally murder was very hard to watch.

Drift Factor: Oh my - I was totally adrift.

Predictability Level: I did not care after awhile.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No - but it did win something at Cannes.

Big Screen or Rental: Neither. But for some of Gus Van Sants' better films, you could rent: Elephant, Gerry, Finding Forrester, Psycho, Good Will Hunting, My Own Private Idaho, Drugstore Cowboy

Length: A very long 90 minutes.