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George Washington (rewatch)

Posted by martinteller on April 27, 2014

I’m going to keep this pretty short, because I pretty much agree with my first review.  As with 42nd Street earlier this month, however, I feel I have to tone down my enthusiasm just a bit.  David Gordon Green admits to the Malick influence, and that influence is obvious throughout the film.  But it comes off a bit too studied, too mannered.  Malick can come off as studied and mannered too, but more than often than not than he gets away with it, both because he’s really the originator of that style and because (most of the time) he has the skill to make it feel like a natural facet of the worlds he builds.  Green, on the other hand, is clearly imitating, and while it’s a style I enjoy and a style that I think works here, there’s something a bit forced to it.  Perhaps it’s because the young actors he employs don’t quite pull it off or perhaps it’s because some of the words are too on the nose.

Regardless, the film does work for the most part, and provides a very melancholy take on America.  These characters are easy to care for, and Green finds beauty and heartache in their lives, though in very measured doses.  Even matters of life and death are treated with tasteful restraint and spoken about with introspection that has a down-to-earth poetry to it.  Some mild clumsiness to style notwithstanding, it is indeed a “remarkable little film” in many ways.  Rating: Very Good (88)


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