Old Joy Reviews
Although this film is very minimalistic, it tackles some pretty serious issues regarding the changing nature of friendships and the alienation that comes with growing old. It is a road picture in which the trip makes for a pretty interesting metaphor. No matter how you think a trip is going to turn out, there will always be some bumps in the road that you did not foresee.
While some may be turned off by its languid pace, it is refreshingly and awkwardly honest. There are long stretches of silence between these characters and when they do converse, it is rather insipid dialogue. To capitalize on the emotional division between these two characters, Reichardt manages to keep these men in the same frame, but they couldn't seem any further apart.
While a hearty dose of melodrama always spices up a good story, sometimes life isn't that way. In fact, silence far outweighs all of the words spoken in the world and it is interesting to see someone capture these moments in such a raw way. Am I eagerly awaiting this film's release on Blu-Ray? Of course not. But it is an honest look at friendship and something that isn't too often captured on film.
[font=Century Gothic]"Old Joy" is a low-key exploration about how the times change and sometimes the people do not change along with them through the friendship of two men. Mark is expecting his first child, the biggest change in his life, soon to be his largest responsibility.(Smaller changes to his life involve the closing of a local used records store and his listening to talk radio which he may not have listened to before.) At the same time, Kurt is considering the job offer of a chef at a resort but otherwise his life still seems rudderless. The movie's main strength is its naturalness, not only in its settings but also its dialogue. [/font]
Techincally speaking, 'Old Joy' is a well-made film. The cinematography is neat, the dialogue although boring is realistic and the acting is solid. Oldham and London are both decent in their roles, and the two have great screen chemistry. But for the average viewer, there is little to like about this inexcusably tedious exercise. The film's gratuitous drawn-out shots of nature gets to be tiresome, annoying and dare I say a bit pretentious. If you enjoy watching grass grow, get ready for the thrill-ride of the decade! Grade: B-