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Gerry  (2002)

 

Starring: Matt Damon, Casey Affleck

Director: Gus Van Sant

Rating: Buena Vista Home Entertainment

Release Date: November 11, 2003
Review posted: July 25, 2004

Spoilers: None

 

Reviewed by Dylan Grant

 

SYNOPSIS

 

A pair of best friends, who have nicknamed each other “Gerry,” set out on a desert hike. But what begins as a simple daytime adventure turns into an intense life-and-death struggle that will test their endurance and friendship.

 

CRITIQUE

 

Made between Finding Forrester and Elephant, one has to wonder how Gerry earned its “R” rating. There is no violence or nudity in the film, and what could be construed as “adult language” is minimal. There are long stretches in the film where we are just watching two men walking. There is little dialogue, next to nothing in the way of story, and yet the film is oddly compelling. Gerry is minimalist filmmaking taken to the extreme.

 

Throughout the film, what we are really watching is life, the awakening that comes when people are forced into extreme circumstances. Gerry and Gerry start out for a day on a wilderness hike, but when they veer off the trail and quickly get lost, they are left with only each other, keeping themselves entertained with a few vague pop culture references. They walk on saying little to each other, and the whole ordeal becomes quickly tiresome. The visual beauty of the film, by far its strongest asset, cannot make up for what is missing, which is just about everything else.

 

Gerry is not a bad film, but it feels like an inside joke, something that just does not click outside the Van Sant/Affleck/Damon sphere. The three share writing credit on the film, and there are points in the film where it seems like they were making it up as they went along. Not that there is anything wrong with that, it is just that the pieces do not add up to anything.

 

THE VIDEO

 

Gerry is presented in the original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio, and the picture is beautifully crisp. The film is visually gorgeous, and every inch of the desert landscape looks as good as you would expect in any theater.

 

THE AUDIO

 

The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, and the quality is excellent.

 

THE EXTRAS

 

The only special feature is the Salt Lake Van Sant” documentary. This behind-the-scenes documentary is decent in that it gives the feel of actually spending time on the set. The drawback is that spending time on this set looks pretty boring. We watch them set up a scene (one that occurs towards the end of the film), no one says much, and then we fade out. The whole documentary runs a little under fifteen minutes, and it provides little insight into the making of the film.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

 

Gerry is the film to watch if you want something out of the ordinary, or if you are one of Gus Van Sant’s more die hard fans. The film is worth seeing for its visual beauty alone.

 

VERDICT: RENT IT

 

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:: The Disc

 

:: Disc Ratings

 

THE MOVIE

5

THE VIDEO

10

THE AUDIO

10

THE EXTRAS

1

OVERALL

5

 

:: Merchandise