Thursday, June 25, 2009

To Sleep Perchance To Dream

My Own Private Idaho(1991)
Directed by Gus Van Sant

"Why, you wouldn't even look at a clock unless hours were lines of coke, dials looked like the signs of gay bars, or time itself was a fair hustler in black leather."
Keanu Reeves and River Phoenix, in early Gus Van Sant, Shakespear inspired, jaunt across America and Europe, where two young "hustlers" search for love, meaning, family, and their place in the world. Narcoleptic drifter Phoenix is taken care of by wealthy playboy Reeves, and the two form an understated chemistry, that along with Van Sants more eclectic direction and story make this film as inspired as it is entertaining.
One of the most stylish films of the 90's and one, despite expectations I find myself thinking back on, expecially as more and more people proclaim "Milk" as Van Sant's masterpeice.
"My Own Private Idaho" takes it's name from a B52's song, and some plot points from shakespear, but has a visual gusto that Van Sant has yet to return to, and feels more confident than amatuer.
With Reeves choosing one path, and Pheonex another, during the films double funeral climax, one can see the battle lines drawn that lead to "Milk", a more adult and direct tackling of identity and sexual politics, to this films aimlessness and youthful energy.
If nothing else though this film changed the way I looked at highways..."The road is a fucked up face".

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