Saturday, June 12, 2010

Death Takes a Holiday

GET LOW [***1/2]
(Aaron Schneider, US, 2010, 100 mins.)

One thing about Chicago, people know how to die.
People are dying in bunches, but not around here.

-- Frank Quinn (Bill Murray)

Comedies about death aren't exactly a novel proposition, but Get Low, which draws from a real incident, leaves the gallows humor behind for a lighter touch. After losing his sweetheart 40 years before, Felix (Robert Duvall) has lived like a hermit ever since. With guilt weighing him down, the "crazy ol' nutter" decides to throw a party. As he tells funeral director Frank (Bill Murray in top form), "Time for me to get low."

Frank and his assistant, Buddy (Duvall's Sling Blade co-star Lucas Black), find the re-
quest bizarre--since Felix plans to attend--but they can't afford to turn him down, so they fix him for a suit and post invitations up around Caleb County. Before he leaves this mortal coil, Felix longs to hear the tall tales the town folk have been spreading about him. While preparing for the big day, he reconnects with Mattie (Sissy Spacek), an old flame recently returned to Tennessee. Their encounters, which have a gentle sweetness, encourage him to share the truth he's kept bottled up inside for decad-
es. After that big build-up, his confession feels anti-climactic, but cinematograph-
er-turned-director Schneider's affection for his characters always shines through.

Show time: 6/13, 6:30pm, Cinerema (opens on 7/30).

Endnote: For more information, please visit the
official website. Image from Video Detective.

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