Dir: David Gordon Green (All the Real Girls)
Intriguing little film visiting some very ancient themes through the underbelly of the American South. A redenck and his two sons are visited by his brother, recently released from prison. Deep scars fester between the two, and they soon lead to a violent episode. The two sons head out on the lamb where their encounters take on a mythic character.
The film is dense with symbolism, probably too dense. The master metaphor is some old gold coins that the brothers dispute ownership over. Like Treaure of the Sierra Madre, greed brings tradgedy to the covetous, but here the point is woven overtly through Greek mythology. One needs the coins to travel the river Styx, etc. Aside from that, many of the actions of the characters are shadowy and wrapped in symbolism. For example, the younger son eats odd things and vomits, paint and mud and the like. Lots of things like this abound. In its direction, too, the film is poetic, sparingly using effects to imply hidden meanings.
All of that stuff usually distances me from the story, makes it cold and impenetrable. I prefer my films to invite me in and move me. The core story of brothers against each other and life in the sticks does this. All of the "indy film" flash detracts rather than elevates. I was disappointed when the character development ended and the action started. The family is the interesting part, and I wanted that story to linger longer.
But we at I Just Saw never slam a film for aiming too high and only getting half way there. The frank portrayal of country life and the literary quality of the storyline make this worth your time, but not something to go out of your way to see. Those with more tolerance for "cool" movies than I will like this better.