Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Most Fragile Super-Hero on Earth

George Washington(2000)
by David Gordon Green

Like reading a great novel. The words which pour out of these kids mouths, are at times completely natural and others poetic and rich. This is not your typical independent film, dealing with "life amongst the poor", in fact though destitute the setting is kinda magical and Utopian.
George doesn't get harassed, assaulted, while patrolling the neighborhood with a cape? Adults and children, speak to each other with no recognition of age, etc.. But none of this distracts from the "realism" of the story or characters, well realism is the wrong word...naturalism seems more fitting.
A group of friends in North Carolina (all played by real people, no actors) deal with boredom, crushes, and growing up, until tragedy strikes, and changes them all, some attempt to escape, others take to lofty (super-heroesque) action.
May seem a bit slow to some, but it's sincerely one of the best movies I've ever seen, it has a life and uniqueness all it's own which is difficult to put into words.
I'd heard whispers of this movie for years, and now that I've finally seen it, I understand exactly the reasons for the hushed admiration and awe.
A moving and inspiring masterpiece, I wish there were more like this...for one it's a film with non-middle class black characters, which doesn't immediately fall into cliches of race, class, etc, allowing the characters to grow into actual 3 dimensional human forms, and not just sacrificial lambs for heavy handed social tragedy. Okay I'm getting a bit off point, and maybe personalizing this, but it did make a difference in my appreciation, and perhaps Gordon's directing.
In the Charlie Rose Interview (for those of you with the DVD), Gordon mentions for instance using ambient and string music as opposed to traditionally expected "hip hop" or "urban music". It's small details like this which help establish the films tone apart from it's environment, and to show how tranquil and mystical even junkyards and vacant lots can seem to fresh eyes and minds.
"I just wish I had my own tropical island, I wish... I wish I was... I could go to China, I wish I could go out of The States... I wish I had my own planet, I wish I... I wish there were 200 of me, man... I wish I could just sit around with computers and technology and just brainstorm all day man. I wish I was born again... I wish I could get saved and give my life to Christ... then maybe he can forgive me for what I did... I wish there was just one belief... my belief."

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