Get Low
Artwork and Review By: Daniel Albert
Get Low, despite its list of high profile actors, is probably a film that flew under a lot of people’s radars.  This could be for a variety of reasons.  The marketing budget was probably the size of something somewhere between Thumbelina’s bathtub and Lincoln’s chin hairs on a penny.  The director Aaron Schneider isn’t exactly a household name, in lieu of the fact that he is the man behind the lens on several hollywood hits (cinematographer on Kiss the Girls and Director of Photography on Titanic).  Or it may just of have been unclear to viewers what type of movie Get Low is, a comedy or a drama, as scenes in the trailer misled the public into thinking one way or another what to expect.
I however, like all good critics, tried my damndest to go into Get Low with no expectations or preconcieved notions, a feat, although difficult, that seemed to pay dividends.  The film is a period piece set in the 1930’s telling the part tall tale, part truth story of Tennessee hermit Felix Bush’s self thrown live-in funeral.  With a synopsis like that it’s no wonder that people had trouble trying to peg this movie down.

Obviously with an all-star cast, acting is not a problem for the film.  Everyone plays their role superbly, although the purpose of such roles are not clearly defined.  At times funeral director Frank Quinn (played by Bill Murray) seems a bit out of place.  With that said he adds a lightness to the film, which would border on too dark without it.  Juxtaposed with the humor is a taught drama involving an ambiguous fire, the films first frames, setting up an intriguing mystery involving the self forced exile of Felix Bush.

Also, with a skilled cinematographer like Schneider the overall look of the film is not only consistent, but beautifully accurate, especially when it comes to the tone of a movie set in the 1930’s.  The problem is, there are shots interjected that serve no purpose, introducing storylines that aren’t developed, leading the audience in a mulitiude of directions, only to backtrack them to the main plot moments later by sweeping entire sideplots (or at least what seems like sideplots), under the rug.

Had I gone into the film looking for a comedy I would have been sorely dissapointed, and likewise would I have left upset if I was looking for an Oscar worthy drama.  But going in with an open mind, what I got was a middle of the road film leaning closer to the exceptional end of the spectrum than the turkey end. 

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