Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Leaves of Grass - DVD Review


Starring Edward Norton, Tim Blake Nelson, Keri Russell, Josh Pais, Susan Sarandon, Richard Dreyfuss, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Melanie Lynskey, Maggie Siff and Ty Burrell.
Directed by Tim Blake Nelson.

This is a weird little comedy, in that writer/director Tim Blake Nelson doesn't seem sure what tone to take, or he's trying for tonal shifts that only directors like the Coen brothers can pull off.

Edward Norton plays indentical twin brothers. At first I was annoyed by the bumpkin brother Brady; Norton laid on the gol-durn accent awful thick-like but I got used to it after a while, and he was a very distinct character from the Ivy-League educated city brother Bill.

Bill gets word that Brady has been killed. Bill goes back to his hometown in Oklahoma to pay respects, only to learn that his brother's not really dead. Twas a ruse to get him down there. Brady needs Bill to rpetend to be him as an alibi. Turns out Brady's quite the accomplished weed grower/dealer, but he wants out of the business and needs Bill's help.

All of this is played for light-hearted enough comedy, but an hour in, people actually start getting killed, and the movie downshifts into genuine thriller territory. I won't say what note the movie ends on, but it hits a few more off-key ones until it gets there.

Susan Sarandon is wasted as the boys' mother, the youngest woman in a rest home. Richard Dreyfuss is amusing enough in an extended cameo as an upstanding businessman who's secretly quite the crime-lord (and upon reflection, very similar to his role in RED). It's an odd diversion of a movie, and Norton's performance carried me to the end, even if that end left me feeling hollow.

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