Get Low (PG)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner20/01/2011

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 101 mins

Get Low is beautifully made, has a decent script and features terrific performances from Robert Duvall and Bill Murray, but it somehow fails to deliver the emotional hit it's aiming for.

What's it all about?
Directed by Aaron Schneider, Get Low is based on a true story (it says here) and stars Robert Duvall as Felix Bush, a bearded old codger who lives a hermit's life in rural 1930s Tennessee. The local townsfolk are frightened of Felix (shades of Duvall's Boo Radley from To Kill A Mockingbird) but when he rides into town and announces his intention to throw his own funeral party (while still alive), pragmatic funeral home owner Frank Quinn (Bill Murray) is only too happy to oblige and asks his assistant Buddy (Lucas Black) to give Felix all the help he needs.

It quickly becomes clear that Felix is carrying a dark secret that he needs to confess before he dies and with Buddy in tow, he seeks the help of Reverend Charlie Jackson (Bill Cobb), an old friend who knows the truth. At the same time, he rekindles a friendship with widower Mattie Darrow (Sissy Spacek), a woman from his past who has recently returned to town.

The Good
Robert Duvall can do crotchety old geezers in his sleep and he's on reliably good form here, even if you're never in any real doubt that Felix is a nice guy and not the monster the townsfolk think he is. Bill Murray, if anything, is even better, delivering his usual deadpan performance with an added twinkle (shaped like a dollar sign) in his eye, while there's strong, unshowy support from both Lucas Black and a radiant Sissy Spacek.

The script is decent, at least in terms of the dialogue, which feels authentic without overdoing it. Similarly, the production design is extremely impressive, topped off by David Boyd's gorgeous cinematography and a superb score from Jan A.P. Kaczmarek.

The Bad
The main problem with the film is that, despite all the required elements being in place, they never quite gel together into an emotionally satisfying story. This is largely because the expected climax is laid out right at the start, so you spend the whole film waiting to hear Felix's story and it's a bit of a let-down when you finally do.

Worth seeing?
Get Low is beautifully shot with impeccable production design work and superb performances but it feels oddly light in terms of emotional and dramatic impact. Worth seeing, but it’s not quite the film it could have been.

Film Trailer

Get Low (PG)
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Content updated: 22/10/2017 11:03

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