Paranoid Park is vague, hard to follow

“There is a very fine line between mood and melodrama. Some directors have mastered the art of balancing beautiful orchestration with moments of silence. A handful have even perfected the skill of awkward camera angles and lighting to impress upon the audience a change in affect or ambience.”

There is a very fine line between mood and melodrama.

Some directors have mastered the art of balancing beautiful orchestration with moments of silence.

A handful have even perfected the skill of awkward camera angles and lighting to impress upon the audience a change in affect or ambience.

It is these directors that have earned critical praise and the love of movie-goers everywhere.

But there are a few directors that have inspired acclaim, that, as I watch their movies, I  stare in disbelief that they have made the money he has.

For movies like Paranoid Park, the consequences of risk taking leave the viewer with such a stale taste the movie becomes unbearable at times.

I commend Mr. Van Sant for his gamble of a no-name, no-previous-credit cast.

But I cannot sit back and listen to these rave reviews on a film so flimsily constructed that it took me three days to finish it.

Gus Van Sant prides himself on his art-house films that push the limits of traditional filmmaking.

However, this limit-pushing results in a discombobulated and uneven pacing that leads only to frustration and irritation.

Park opens with a young man in his mid-teens. We quickly learn that he has been responsible for the death of a security guard near the train yards.

Quiet and mild-mannered, Alex just loves to skateboard. Van Sant made his one brilliant decision to film portions of his movie in 8mm.

This vintage look gives a brief breath of fresh air into a plethora of stagnation and blasé dribble.

Through first person narrative, Alex tells his tale of how his weekend treks to Paranoid Park, a skate park in the ghetto of northern Washington, led to the demise of this unfortunate security guard.

When the guard is found dead, having been bludgeoned in the head by a skateboard and cut in half by an oncoming train, an investigation begins in the school.

The only suspects are those in the skateboarding crowd as a skateboard is found because the scene of the crime. Alex denies any involvement and gives an alibi for every time of that fateful weekend.

The dialogue drags the viewer through a muddied plot with less-than-par acting and writing that is better suited for an MTV after school special.

For a director who has shown us his talents in films like Finding Forrester and Good Will Hunting, it’s disappointing when a movie this mediocre is created.

Perhaps the most unsatisfactory facet of this movie is the wasted potential.

The story is conventional, but with proper execution, could have been a mesmerizing coming-of-age tale of personal deception and murder.

With a cast better suited to convey the internal turmoil of our protagonist, the film might have risen above mediocrity.

While I could lie and say there are no words to convey my disappointment in Mr. Van Sant (obviously, as I have just so eloquently destroyed his film), I can only warn the general public about wasting 90 minutes of their life, not to mention the price of admission.

Consider yourself warned.