by Ryland Walker Knight
If Gus Van Sant's last feature, 2005's "Last Days," can be understood as a cubist portrait of waning time, then his new film, "Paranoid Park," may be described as an impressionistic sketch of subliming memory's weight.
My Daily Cal review hit the stands (and the web) a little later than the rest of the blogosphere due to this whole marketing machine we find ourselves a part of: smaller films get rolled out slower to build word of mouth. But, you know, like, whatever. This is about the work. I hope to see the picture again on a big screen because, even though the film is thin, it's lovely; and Christopher Doyle's photography should be seen as big as possible. Plus, Gus Van Sant's sound design is funny, curious; and his editing is only getting better, more affective. It's not quite Last Days quality -- they are altogether different kinds of films -- but it's better than Elephant and a possible sign that Milk may be pretty excellent. The great thing about Paranoid Park, really, is that, despite the death at its center, the film is about living, not dying. Sure, you could argue that the "Death trilogy" is about living, too -- all art is, right? -- but all three of those end with some death; this picture ends with a boy waking up and moving in the world. You can read my take on Paranoid Park by clicking here.