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Get Low | Movie Reviews | Nerdy Nothings

Get Low

get low robert duvall


I am going to get ripped for saying this, because there are a ton of smallish indies in the queue I’ve yet to see, but it feels like a slow year for good films. Nothing has really shaken me — I can usually peel off five or six memorable titles by this time of year. And only two come to mind that I absolutely loved this year: Inception and Get Low.

The plunking piano that opens Get Low is the kind of music that you hear in every indie-drama. It has a distinct quality to it, mostly notes from minor scales, struck slowly and firmly, echoing, always echoing, chasing one another throughout the film. Luckily, I was in the right frame of mind when my ass landed in the seat. I was ready for a deliberate character study, one which allowed the cast plenty of room to breathe and long moments of pensive quiet for the audience to reflect upon.

Get Low, set in the 1930s, tells the almost-true story of a reclusive hermit, the thickly and scraggly-bearded Felix Bush (Robert Duvall). Rumors concerning the circumstances of Felix’s relegation circulate through the town like flaming tumbleweeds. Everyone thinks they know why he’s out there in the boonies all by himself. Maybe he’s killed a man with his bare hands or more likely, many men. Felix, who speaks mostly in grunts and gestures, decides to end his life as a troglodyte with a living funeral. Frank Quinn (Bill Murray), the town’s funeral director, takes charge of the arrangements and sets out to complete the impossible task of recruiting guests.

get low bill murray

As the story unfolds, we learn that it’s Felix who has a story to tell — a confession of sorts for a crime of which we only get short glimpses. There isn’t much more you need to know. You won’t be seeing this film for plot twists or high-speed horse and carriage chases. This is a film that uses dialogue sparingly, and allows the actors many opportunities to tell the story with their eyes, the way they clasp their hands or the way they look out a window.

It takes actors like Robert Duvall and Bill Murray to bring a script like this to life. Men with aged faces, cracked and wrinkled by hard nights and early mornings. Bill Murray is in fine form with a subdued performance reminiscent of the less talkative, somber role he played in Rushmore. I’m firm in my belief he will one day win an Oscar; not this year, but some day. This year, Duvall will likely be nominated. It wasn’t until the final moments of the film when Felix comes out of his shell that Duvall takes the performance to the next level.

To fully appreciate Get Low, you will need to invest some brain push-ups. It expects of the audience an ability to think deeply on the subjects of death, forgiveness and morality. But don’t run off just yet… without investing too much, you can still appreciate, if nothing else, the gorgeous photography and fine-tuned performances of the actors. Get Low is one of the best pictures so far this year.

tags: bill murray, get low, robert duvall, sissy spacek

  • DZ

    Thank you.

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