STUDIO: Genius Products
MSRP: $19.95
RUNNING TIME: 84 minutes


The Pitch

Murder can bring a skater down.

The Humans

Gabe Nevins, Taylor Momsen, Daniel Liu, Emma Nevins, Winfield Jackson and Jake Miller

The Nutshell

Alex is a normal kid that lives a normal life. He hangs out at the local skate park and tries his best to impress his girlfriend Jennifer. He’s worried about sex and all the teenage trappings. But, then something goes awry.

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The Lowdown

Paranoid Park is a serious film that doesn’t fall into the trappings of Elephant. Elephant is a great film, but it’s also alienating to most viewers. Paranoid Park plays with the teenage drama linchpins, as we look hard at Alex’s life. The film plays fast and loose with the timeline as we jump around in the narrative as our hero Alex writes it down. This emotional turnabout is fun and helps to build the look into what happened at the skate park.

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The thing is we kind of know what happened at the park. Alex lets others know indirectly that a security guard died at the park after hours. The skate park is illegally set-up and no one should really be there. So, Alex plays sheepish like any teenager that got caught doing something wrong. The kicker is that Alex knows something about the security guard’s death. His friends don’t really want to hear it, as they don’t want to be implicated in the incident. Alex’s parents are aloof and seem non-concerned since their divorce.

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The audience gets a look into the case from the lead detective (Daniel Liu), but even his entry is colored by Alex’s slant. Gus Van Sant is such a mellow director that all of his films have the taint of cinematic Xanax. But, that’s not a bad thing. It’s an aesthetic choice that allows for a creator to play into the various genres at their disposal. Critiquing emotional response is hard, as it doesn’t allow for much plotting to be under the microscope.

What you have is a feature that is dedicated to capturing a difficult situation in the most awkward period of a person’s life. Whether or not Alex murdered someone doesn’t matter. The journey to his self-realization is what matters to Van Sant. Such approaches aren’t for everyone and will probably put them off. Honestly, I was just glad that it wasn’t another Gerry.

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The Package

Paranoid Park comes
standard offering. You don’t get any special features, but that doesn’t matter. The A/V Quality is sharp as hell and you would expect it to be. I haven’t seen a film shot by legendary DP Christopher Doyle that hasn’t come across as anything less than stellar on home video. Sure, I would’ve loved to see the Blu-Ray bump to 1080p, but that’s not happening for a smaller film like this. You can just take the experience of the main feature and hope for the best.

Christopher Doyle rocks the Van Sant landscape.

8.0 out of 10