Gerry

Parts of me would love to say that this film was a big pile of steaming, existential bull crap. But I liked it. So I can’t really hold that opinion I guess. Spoiler Alert - Gerry is one part of Gus Van Sant’s ‘Death Trilogy’ (the other films being Elephant, and Last Days), which focus on death at the hands of one’s best friend.

There is no plot in this film.  Really, there’s not.  It follows two friends, both named Gerry, as they wander into the desert to go to a ‘thing.’  After getting half way to the ‘thing’ they decide to turn back, but they get lost.  For (as I count it) four days, they stumble around the desert looking for their car, climbing hilltops.  Not only are the two both named Gerry, but they use the word gerry (probably why it’s not capitalized on the poster) as a transitive verb, meaning to screw up.  The dialogue is completely useless, never discussing anything of value.  In fact, the most interesting topics talked about are Pat Sajak, and a fictional video game.  Click here for mindnumbing memorable quotes.  The best part of the whole film is the cinematography, which was brilliant.  Filmed in the Salt Flats of Utah, the scenary is breathtaking, and a welcomed contrast to the situation the two twenty somethings find themselves in.

The film is more experimental than it is a coherent narrative.  Director Gus Van Sant chose (well, he was forced by budget constraints) to preserve film.  This led to extremely long shots (some approach ten minutes).  One shot focuses in on the profiles of the the two Gerrys (played by Casey Affleck and Matt Damon who also co-wrote the script with Van Sant) as they walk side by side.  For ten minutes.  In silence.  It’s understandable why this movie decisively split critics.  It seems that Van Sant, feeling a little icky after going so mainstream with his previous three films: Psycho, Finding Forrester, and Good Will Hunting, decided to return to his minimalist indie roots, but went a little too far in that direction.  Despite all the these complaints, I couldn’t bring myself to turn off the film.  Gerry, for one reason or another, fascinated me, and even though I saw another fantastic movie immediately after it, I couldn’t stop thinking about Gerry after both were over.  Check it out if you think you have the patience.

★★★☆

Rottentomatoes: 61%Cream of the Crop: 50%

Comments
3 Responses to “Gerry”
  1. Mad Hatter says:

    I saw this one back at the 2002 Toronto Film Festival, and remember thinking how it would have made a great short film.

    It’s an interesting concept, but I see it more as a rough draft to ELEPHANT’s good copy.

    You’re right though – *beautifully* shot!

  2. cwebb4 says:

    actually budget constraints had nothing to do with the long takes, van sant has addressed this himself, he saw bela tarr’s werckmeister harmonies and became completely obsessed with emulating tarr’s style. i havent seen gerry but many of the shots are taken straight out of werckmeister harmonies- for instance the scene you mention with the walking and side profiles. just giving you a heads up, if you havent seen harmonies do so, its a masterpiece.

  3. Tyler Durden says:

    Actually, the video game is real. “Zeus: Master of Olympus”.

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