Monday 23 June 2008

My Own Private Idaho [1991]

My Own Private Idaho is perhaps the crowning achievement of Gus Van Sant, maker of some of the finest independent films in America. The movie follows two male hustlers – Mike, a male prostitute suffering from narcolepsia who is desperate to find his lost mother, and Scott – a rebellious rich kid who has hit the road to escape the constraints imposed for being a wealthy man’s son. However unlike Mike, who will probably have to spend all his life working on the streets along with a bunch of idiosyncratic fellow-hustlers, Scott is ready to step back into a conventional lifestyle after he inherits his money and forget that he ever had anything to do with the people (including his best friend Mike) he is hanging out with. Bravura direction by the indie master, mesmerizing camera work, a thoroughly unconventional narrative and brilliant career making turns by both River Pheonix and Keanu Reaves have made this quirky black comedy and surprisingly poignant human drama, a near poetic (and I must add, wildly convoluted) take on friendship, unrequited love, human alienation and the harshness of life on the road.

Director: Gus Van Sant
Genre: Drama/Black Comedy/Road Movie/Buddy Film
Language: English
Country: US


Anonymous said...

Nice compact reviews. Welcome to the Lamb!

1minutefilmreview said...

Hey buddy, welcome to the LAMB!

Your movie taste bud differ with ours on this one. To us, this Van Sant film plods on quite a bit. There isn't much of a story here except to show some torrid homosexual scenes, and then more, and still more sex. The cinematography was great but that was it. Nevertheless, we respect your learned opinion.

Great new look for your blog!

Shubhajit said...

@Rick - thanks for your appreciation. Looking forward to more of your views.

@1minute - i absolutely agree with your opinion that in cinema, as in any other art form, personal views play a huge part even for the most objective of critics. But since we are both serious movies lovers, i'm sure for most other movies our views would match. Thanks for your appreciation on the new look.

Ed Howard said...

I disagree that this is Van Sant's crowning achievement -- that would be the sublime "death trilogy" -- but it's a decent and always interesting film nonetheless. It's a bit of a mess in that Van Sant is throwing in the stylistic and thematic kitchen sink here, but that's sort of endearing. Even Keanu Reeves' cringe-inducing recitations of Shakespeare have a certain archly ironic quality about them that works in the film's favor. I think it's a transitional work in a lot of ways, trying to meld the wandering narratives of his first two (great) features with a more ambitious visual style. Not totally successful, but still more than worth seeing.

Shubhajit said...

@Ed - I've deliberately used the term 'perhaps' in my review because i haven't yet managed to complete his famed 'death trilogy'. Still i find it very unlikely that Sant has managed to outstage this brilliant quirky effort. But since you strongly feel so i might as well complete the trilogy and put things into perspective. Thanks for your views.