Movie Review: Paranoid Park (2007)

Paranoid Park

 

You know, while big blockbuster movies that everyone sees are fine and dandy, sometimes you need something smaller. That is at least how I feel, seeing as how I love both huge action spectacles and quiet little movies that sneak up from nowhere. What I am trying to say is that I have reviewed quite a bit of bigger movies recently, so let’s take on a smaller indie movie.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Paranoid Park”.

In this movie we follow high schooler Alex (Gabe Nevins) who likes to skate on his skateboard. But his life changes dramatically after he accidentally kills a security guard. That’s it… simple as it comes. But just because the premise is simple to describe, doesn’t mean that it isn’t layered, because this plot has layers. What I like about it is that it shows Alex trying to live with the guilt and anxiety of what he have done. It makes for an interesting watch and an intriguing plot. What I also find interesting is how jumpy the plot is. To some that might be a terrible thing, but I love when the order is a little wonky so I can piece the puzzle together (I’m looking at you “Sin City”!).

You know what I like about the characters? They all feel so genuine. They all feel like they are real people, like they had a life prior to the movie and actually existed. Those are the best kind of characters, those you can imagine beyond the movie. Say what you want about the acting, but at least it all feels genuine. It’s kind of like when I was “Elephant” a while back (Sidenote: Coincidentally also directed by Gus Van Sant), the actors weren’t really professionals, they were picked for their roles because that their roles were kind of who they actually were(ish). I am babbling at this point, but someone might make sense of it. What I’m trying to say is they all feel very real.

What is interesting about the soundtrack to “Paranoid Park” is the fact that even though it sounds at times like there is an original score, there is none. Instead we have a collection of indie rock and licensed tracks that probably were from original scores in other movies. I mean, if your mixed soundtrack contains songs by Nino Rota (Sidenote: Awesome composer) without having him as composer, it is safe to assume it was licensed. Not that I am complaining, all of the tracks used in the movie were really good and fit every scene perfectly in one way or another. I really like what they did here with the soundtrack.

Like I mentioned before, this movie was directed by Gus Van Sant and once again he is awesome. The shots look great and his editing (Yes, Van Sant edits his own movies because he is awesome like that) is spot on great. And the cinematography by, hold on… Christopher Doyle and… Rain Li looks fantastic, giving it a dark yet colorful look that fits perfectly with the sad and almost melancholic movie. Also, if you easily get queasy then maybe don’t watch this movie because there is one scene (no spoilers) that will make you badly queasy.

This movie has been very well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 76% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 83/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,7/10.

“Paranoid Park” is a very quiet movie that still managed to leave quite the impact on me with a powerful story, genuine/real characters, good music, great direction/editing and excellent cinematography. Time for my final score. *Clears throat*. My final score for “Paranoid Park” is a 9,86/10. It deserves the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

“Paranoid Park” is now reviewed.

As for those of you still doubting, this movie is not about the Black Sabbath song opening a park.

 

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