Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I think I'm supposed to indicate that I paid money to see this, due to some FCC rules or somethin'. (do I only have to indicate if I got in free?)

Also, spoilers.

There was a lot of pre-Sundance buzz about Hesher - well, at least in my circle. Lots of people asked me if I was going to see this one - and since I'm nothing if not a slave to buzz, I said "Well, I'll try."

Here's the synopsis from the Sundance website:

Hesher is the story of a family struggling to deal with loss and the anarchist who helps them do it—in a very unexpected way.
TJ is 13 years old. Two months ago, his mom was killed in an accident, leaving TJ and his grieving dad to move in with grandma to pick up the pieces. Hesher is a loner. He hates the world—and everyone in it. He has long, greasy hair and homemade tattoos. He likes fire and blowing things up. He lives in his van—until he meets TJ.
Hesher is that rare film that manages to be a completely original vision, a thoroughly entertaining story, and a provocative metaphor. Joseph Gordon-Levitt brings the character of Hesher to life with anger and angst, and Devin Brochu makes quite a splash as the young boy dealing with both the loss of his mother and an unwanted houseguest. Cowriter/director Spencer Susser crafts a multidimensional, darkly humorous film that exhibits an immensely talented storyteller at work.

Except here's the problem: "completely original vision?" Not so much. It seemed like the entirety of this story was something I had seen before. Kid with a dead mom? Check. Bearded dad dealing with his emotions through sleep and pills? Check. Frumpy, sonsy grandma who takes the path of least resistance? Check? Long-haird weirdo who drives a black van? Check. Awkward girl with a dead-end job and unfortunate glasses? Check. Do you want me to keep going? 'Cause I could. The acting was quite good, particularly the little guy who plays TJ, but I think all the cast did a remarkable job with what they were given - which was incredibly trite, overly formulaic, and spelled out like the audience was full of dummies. Another example: if you have any sense of cinematic storytelling, you knew that the dad was responsible for the mom's death, and that the kid was there when it happened. So why, WHY did they director/screenwriter feel the need to show us in a flashback? Ridiculous.

You know who's going to love this movie? People who don't have a lot of imagination.

Hesher - C-

1 comment:

Chargenda said...

I didn't know you were in Utah! So jealous. You are at Sundance?! What?!