baradetski’s review published on Letterboxd:
"At the time, it felt like the most important thing in the world." — Vincent Gallo
In my first log I called the film brutal, and now in my third I think that word doesn't do the film justice: it's quite clearly the saddest film I've ever seen. Everything about the film is sad, every frame of it radiates an intense feeling of pain. As I've often described to my brother during our many conversations about the film, I think it is maybe the only film ever made to be too sad to make me cry: which says a lot because recently I find myself crying more and more when I watch films, but for whatever reason I feel that tears are beneath this film. The film makes the idea of tears seem trivial, worthless: the action of crying becomes too surface for a film rooted so deep.
A film that is structured through the illusion of the absence of structure: only the film's detractors seem to discuss the lack of action during the first two thirds of the film, which is a real shame because what this film is doing structurally during this time is pretty innovative. The hotel scene is often the main talking point for admirers of the film, but the impact of this scene only works because of the prior hour of (the illusion of) aimlessness. Gallo chooses to keep his cards close to the vest for nearly the entire film, during the hotel scene he promptly shows us the entire deck... and then the film just ends. This structure, of a long stretch of emptiness followed by a swift and hefty punch, has really never been attempted before, and if it has been done before I'm sure it's nowhere near as affective as it is here.
Gallo puts the viewer into a trance for the first hour: he numbs us, shows us the face of a lost man until we begin to feel the entirety of his longing. We practically become the man. Then, and only then, does Gallo decide to show us what makes the man tick, the destination he's been driving towards: Gallo shows us fragments during the first hour, and then at the hotel he shows us everything. During that first hour we're given a mood, a state of mind: the feeling of trying to recreate what is lost and the self-loathing that comes with said feeling. Mediating on all that is wrong with yourself, everything you wish you could take back but can't. Wandering, searching, riding off and disappearing into the distance: somehow no feeling ever felt so real.
The aura left by the film seems to last for days and even weeks. Gallo has submerged us into the psyche of Bud Clay, and the craziest thing is that he had to do so little to accomplish this, maybe it's because we're all like Bud, maybe it's because we've all felt the way he has, but in the end I don't know and I don't care how Gallo did it — all I know is the feeling that Gallo left me with, the feeling that is impossible to shake: she's dead, she isn't coming back, and there's nothing I can do about it.
"I hate you so much, I hate you so much" — Bud can say it all he wants, but we all know it isn't true.
Gold and silver is the Autumn
Soft and tender are her skies
Yes and no are the answers
Written in my true love's eyes
Autumn's leaving and Winter's coming
I think that I'll be moving along
I've got to leave her and find another
I've got to sing my heart's true song
Round and round the burning circle
All the seasons, one, two and three
Autumn comes and then the Winter
Spring is born and wanders free
Gold and silver burned my Autumns
All too soon they'd fade and die
And then, ah, there were no others
Milk and honey were their lies