|'Answering the question: 'how horny are each of these gentlemen?', hardly feels as though it is the existential highpoint to which Beckett aspired.'|
I've seen Prince Avalanche compared to Waiting For Godot in a few places and that seems like as good a place as any to start with David Gordon Green's film, which does bear some similarities with Samuel Beckett's play.
Alone in a wilderness that's close to wasteland Alvin (Paul Rudd) and his partner's brother Lance (Emile Hirsch) eke out a disparate existence that involves oft-bizarre interactions with a couple of other characters (at least one of whom might not actually be there), whilst the duo perform menial tasks that seem as useful at passing the time as they are functional. You can see where the Godot comparison comes from. At one point Lance even disappears off to a local town (exit stage left), leaving Alvin to experience the wasteland in isolation.
The point where I get off that comparison, however, is when it comes to considering what end Green has in mind when he strands his charges in Beckett's uncertain parlour. Whilst the playwright used Godot to consider pretty much everything, depending on your interpretation - from the obvious God, to how we live our lives - Green seems less certain what his layabouts have to say.
It feels like the key to the meaning may be hidden in the appearances of the mysterious character who may not be there, but instead of giving some focus to her and what she says about the fire-ravaged landscape and the people who used to live there, Green seems to go down a different path. Isolated in the wilderness, what existential topics do the protagonists talk about? Women, of course. Green's film becomes almost obsessed with addressing the two men's relationships; Alvin loyal to his partner, Lance desperate for a Summer of shagging. Answering the question: 'how horny are each of these gentlemen?', hardly feels as though it is the existential highpoint to which Beckett aspired.
Eventually, towards the end of its ninety-four minute runtime, the film perhaps gets some way towards poignancy, though it never feels as though it as the behest of Green's hand and the invitation to find further meaning is never forthcoming. Prince Avalanche may aspire high, and have the the sparse plotting to show for it, but if the aspiration ends as empty as this then it's difficult to justify the lofty notions of high art inflection.
Prince Avalance was showing on Netflix.