Prince Avalanche

Sunday 9th March 5:00 PM


We have this marked as our "oddity of the season" film. Part wry comedy, part parable on the state of the world, part spiritual...maybe even a bit supernatural..? And, even stranger, it is not only a US remake of a very recent (2011) festival favourite, Icelandic film ("Either Way"), but one which "proves far superior to the foreign-language original" - Trevor Johnston, Sight and Sound. We thought of bringing you both films to compare and contrast, but decided against; a film too far, maybe.

The film brings us two guys whose job is to repaint the lines on local roads in the middle of nowhere, after a huge forest fire. Set in Texas in the 1980's, where a real fire took place, the scene is set for a US-style buddy comedy...or maybe a European-style journey in the Nuri Bilge Ceylan mould. Which road does it take?

Here we need to pause and look at director David Gordon Green's past record. He started out in 2000 with "George Washington" which was very well received - he was compared to Terrence Malick - but he then gradually turned to action-comedy ("Pineapple Express", 2008) - which the critics weren't so keen on.

The success of "Prince Avalanche" seems to be that he has combined the two. Alvin and Lance go about their work swapping stories and problems as they go. Alvin is seemingly happy being alone in the wild, whilst Lance relishes the weekends when he can get back to town to party. The two argue, make-up and get drunk together. Behind this the fantastic blackened landscape looks almost otherworldly, and the occasional other characters that come down the road from time to time build the feeling of strangeness.

Does it work? Well only you can decide that, but Jonathan Robbins in Film Comment Magazine says "The journey taken by Alvin and Lance has few plot points, but the film is remarkably gripping and rich".


“...this modest, unabashedly eccentric charmer winningly fuses both sides of Green's seemingly split cinematic personality”

Trevor Johnston, Sight And Sound

“One of the most intriguing and thoughtful American films of the year.”

Tom Huddleston, Time Out




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