Monday, August 22, 2005

Movie Review : Garden State By Kirk Bage

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There was nothing but good word of mouth for this quirky debut, both as writer and director for Scrubs star Zach Braff, upon it's cinema release. To get such a film made at all is an achievement, but to make it this good is a minor miracle. It is well observed and both witty and touching in equal measure, if sometimes a little saccharine on both ends; it is well cast - Braff also takes the lead and turns in an affable performance, Natalie Portman is just perfect as Sam, the compulsive liar with epilepsy and a bad record with pets, and Peter Sarsgaard (very under-rated) and Ian Holm provide ever interesting support; it has a soundtrack to compete with a Wes Anderson movie; and there's something about the whole that just works for me. On an originality level it may not win any prizes - it is as though Braff has taken all the things he loves about movies and made it into his own montage, but what is wrong with that when the result is so entertaining? For its many flaws you have to say that he is going to be a filmmaker worth keeping an eye on. It's also nice to get back to this kind of thing after a Summer of blockbusters, superheroes and aliens. It's a film that takes you on a strange journey, like After Hours or Brazil and is never the same twice because neither are you - I wouldn't call it deep, exactly, but I still can't wait to see it again. 8.5/10

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