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Director: Aaron Schneider
USA, 2009

Back when Saturday Night Live was still funny, Robert Duvall appeared in a sketch called “Who’s More Grizzled,” where contestants on a game show riff on subjects to show their grizzled-ness. Of course, Mr. Duvall won handily. No one does old and ornery better than Duvall. Get Low is his latest entry into the Grizzled Hall of Fame, with Duvall playing Felix Bush, a woodsy, ornery, secretive hermit in Depression-era California. Sensing that his passing is near, Felix uses a large, dirty ball of money to convince Bill Murray and Lucas Black (of Tokyo Drift fame!) to hold a big fancy funeral for him. While he’s still alive.

The majority of the movie is a bit of fluff, there isn’t much to be gained from Felix’s story or secret or his relationships with the other characters in the movie. It feels like more of a victory lap for Duvall, who gets all the best lines, as well as the last laugh. The supporting cast turns in excellent performances (Sissy Spacek and Lucas Black especially), but they all seem to be holding back and kowtowing to the venerable Duvall. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Basically, Get Low is 100 minutes of Robert Duvall doing his thing while Bill Murray cracks funny here and there. Duvall’s ornery crank is a classic character: old, embittered, wise, weathered, honest, wistful, human. It’s not really an impactful or meaningful film by any stretch, but I can think of a worse way to spend an evening.

Get Low was screened at the 2010 Seattle International Film Festival. It will be the festival’s closing night movie, screening on Sunday, June 13th at the Cinerama at 6:30pm.

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