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USA 2000
Directed by
David Gordon Green
89 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

George Washington

This debut feature about a group of black kids on the cusp of adolescence living in a decrepit small industrial  town in North Carolina has the barest of plots and is essentially a mood piece that takes a small tragedy and uses it to portray the melancholy of the American experience with its grand dreams and often less-than-grand realities.

Writer-director David Gordon Green deftly captures the mythopoetic qualities of a crucial time in life much as did for Australian audiences, John Duigan with The Year My Voice Broke, By using the device of a narrator (one of the kids) Green give perspective to the story but at the same time uses non-professional actors and improvised dialogue to keep things grounded in reality.

The film was widely compared to Terrence Malick’s Days Of Heaven for its wistfully elegiac mood, which is much helped by painterly cinematography of Tim Orr whilst the roots-bluesy soundtrack by Michael Linnen and David Wingo adds another layer of depth to the nostalgic sensibility. Green keeps the tone very laid back and this is not the kind of film to see if you’re in the mood for a quick, or even moderately-paced,  entertainment fix but it is one to savour for the sureness of its aesthetic.




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