‘Prince Avalanche’ Arrives on Home Video This Week (4/5 stars)

Saturday, November 9, 2013
By Kevin Crossman

Prince Avalanche on Blu-Ray and DVD

Prince Avalanche on Blu-ray and DVD

David Gordon Greene’s box office flamouts with Your Highness and The Sitter in 2011 seem to be the basis for a small but effective indie film, Prince Avalanche. The film is set amidst the aftermath of a devastating wildfire, creating an eerie mood and an usual setting for the film. Shot over 16 days on a shoestring budget, Prince Avalanche is still quite an effective dramedy that has some surprisingly emotional moments alongside lighter elements. The film is coming to home video this week after a short theatrical run this August.

Prince Avalanche stars Paul Rudd as Alvin and Emilie Hirsch as Lance, part of a two-man road crew painting lines on a highway in Texas after a wildfire in the late 1980s. There’s an odd-couple element to the pairing, with Alvin being the smarter and seemingly more mature leader who enjoys solitude, while Lance is a bit dimmer and would rather be back in town partying. The third person who brings these two together is Lance’s sister, who happens to be Alvin’s girlfriend. The film’s 1980s setting allows the relationship between the two men and their sister to be told through the use of letters that Alvin writes to his love. Both Rudd and Hirsch are excellent, though admittedly neither is playing against type.

Eventually, inevitably, conflict arises between the two men. From time to time a truck driver played by the late Lance LeGault shows up to lighten the mood or to dispense wisdom. Also making an appearance is Joyce Payne who plays a version of herself in an effective scene with Rudd, as she explains what her home was like before it burned down. The performance by LeGault is excellent and sadly is his last since the actor passed away after filming.

Longtime Green collaborator Tim Orr provides some spectacular shots of the devastation and the landscape, with emotional and effective music from David Wingo and Austin band Explosions in the Sky. There’s very much a lyrical quality of the film, made even more effective by the music and cinematography. Green does well with the entire aethetic as the shots and handheld work make us feel invested in the situations and the characters.

Emile Hirsch and Paul Rudd in 'Prince Avalanche'

Emile Hirsch and Paul Rudd in 'Prince Avalanche'

The home video release includes a wealth of extras, though the interview segments with Rudd, Hirsch, and Green shot on video near a hotel elevator give you a sense of the budget for the film. Be sure to check out the touching tribute to LeGault and the “From the Ashes” segment that provides background on the forest setting and the characters. Green provides a commentary with members of the crew, and there are additional interview segments and one focusing on the two main actors. If you enjoy the film the extras will surely cement that feeling.

Though the comedy and narrative aren’t in the typical genre for which we’ve generally grown accustomed, the relationship (okay, let’s say it, “bromance”) with the odd couple pairing of Rudd and Hirsch is still quite entertaining and thought provoking. The film has the lightest “R” rating you’ll ever find, and there’s a scene where the pair get drunk that’s quite fun. However, the parts of Prince Avalanche that will stick with you are the quiet and reflective moments.

4

A copy of the film was provided for this review by Magnolia Home Entertainment. Prince Avalanche is available on DVD and Blu-ray on November 12.

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