One scene can lift an entire movie. American writer-director David Gordon Green’s latest is a return to the warm, loose-limbed charm of his early indie efforts (think ‘All the Real Girls’ rather than ‘Pineapple Express’). It follows two unlucky, unhappy guys (Paul Rudd, Emile Hirsch) as they paint lines on a forgotten stretch of rural Texas highway, bickering and battling every step of the way.
A distant remake of an Icelandic original, 2011’s ‘Either Way’, ‘Prince Avalanche’ has an effortless, scattershot hipster sweetness that feels deeply Scandinavian, and would always have been a goofily lovable character comedy. But a haunting mid-film sequence in the burned-out shell of a remote house elevates Green’s film into something more impressive and compelling, a mournful but quietly angry comment on life in the wake of financial and emotional disaster. With gorgeously crisp photography and pitch-perfect performances from the two leads, this is one of the most intriguing and thoughtful American films of the year.