Prince Avalanche ★★★

Not so much a comedy as a pensive, if barely whimsical, character study following the crises - both major and minor - of two quite different sketches of masculinity. It's a beautiful film, framed with a surreal setting and occupation - the charred woodlands of rural Texas in which two road-painters toil in almost complete isolation.

But the beauty is largely sensorial - the visuals are engaging and the music (by Explosions in the Sky, of whom I'm a huge fan) is immersive and engaging, but the whole piece is inconsistent. The seriousness of the driving score seems at odds with the light-hearted sentiment of many of the film's best moments.

Rudd and Hirsch deliver fantastic performances. But their characters, just like their relationship, never truly deliver breadth and depth enough to fully reach us as an audience. The characters they meet along the way - even though they are wonderfully realized, enough to create strong moments on their own - seem like stopping points on a road trip rather than carefully interwoven support for the main thrust of the film.

I feel like this is the type of emotionally-grounded film that will deeply resonate with individual viewers entirely dependant on their current emotional state, or perhaps their place in life. For me, it failed to connect in a real way, but it has many technical merits that made it worth watching.

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