Get Low

Once in a while an actor will go work on a passion project.  Passion projects are usually movies, not big studio pictures, which the actor wants to make, even though they will get paid less than their normal fees.  Sometimes they will go on to help raise the money to make it and even throw in some of their own money too.  That’s what Robert Duvall did for his new movie, “Get Low”.

One reason why actors seek out these kinds of projects is that it allows them to play characters they normally don’t get to play.  Duvall found that character in spades with Felix Bush, a hermit who lives on the outskirts of a small Tennessee town.  Felix sports some wild hair and a beard and there is a generations worth of stories about him from inside the town.  He feels that his life is coming to an end and would like to arrange his funeral, but he wants it performed while he is still alive.  The church will not help him.  Enter Frank Quinn (Bill Murry), a funeral home owner who can’t believe he opened up a funeral home in a town where not many people are dying.  When he hears of what Felix wants to do from is assistant, Buddy, (Lucas Black), and the bundle of money he owns, he is very willing to give Felix the send off he desires.

The movie opens with a very strong image of a house completely in flames.  Moments later a man, who is also on fire, dives out of the second story window.  This is shown in a long shot so we don’t know who this is and why on earth he is trying to get back inside the house.  Those questions will be answered later; but, it is a good grabber for the audience.  Director Aaron Schneider, who also edited the movie, really knows how to frame a shot, which is not surprising given the amount of movies he worked as a cinematographer. 

The cast is very strong.  Sissy Spacek plays a former love interest of Felix before he took off for the hills.  It’s great seeing Bill Murry again.  He went from this great comedic actor to a great actor.  Other great supporting roles come from Black and Bill Cobbs who plays a reverend who knows Felix’s greatest secret.  Of course, Duvall is the standout here and it is obvious he is having a ball playing a character with such tremendous depth.

Movies like this are not for everyone.  Teens probably won’t care for this as the movie moves at a slow, but steady pace just like the mule pulled wagon Felix takes into town.  The film is geared more towards more mature audiences who can appreciate a good story.  It is rated PG-13 for some thematic material and brief violent content.