Saturday, December 20, 2008

Paranoid Park

Paranoid Park (Gus Van Sant, 2008) [6]

What keeps Paranoid Park interesting is that Van Sant uses images and his meandering narrative to keep everything from being too formulaic. My main problem is that I have a pre-disposition to not give a rat's ass about a character like Alex. It's not that his character is flat or self-absorbed; in fact, the film Van Sant crafts around him actually does a good job of getting inside his mind. It's just the world that Alex occupies, that of skate parks and typical teenage dialogue, is nothing that I have much interest in. It is to Van Sant's credit that he' created a realistic picture about teenagers, and the series of events that Alex takes on feel real and earned by his character. He was involved in the accidental death of a person and he has to grapple with all the emotional baggage that comes with a event like that. The film's structure, capturing moments and thoughts more than straight narrative, work in the context of examining it the way Alex would. There certainly images and songs that leave a strong impact in my mind. Yet, for whatever reason, none of this helps me get over this feeling that I don't really care about Alex, the people around him, or what's going to happen to him. For all its achievement in craft, there's something lurking inside Paranoid Park that makes me want to cast it off.

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