directed by Gus Van Sant is filmed in the gritty, hand held camera
style that he is now becoming known for (and you could say expected)
and therefore is aesthetically similar to his two previous films
Elephant and Last Days. However this film is far more conventional
and will satisfy those looking for a sustained narrative and rapid
artistic movie followers.
Based on the novel by Blake Nelson, Paranoid Park takes place in the
world of disaffected youth, who place skateboarding above all else
as they have little to fulfill their lives. This sets the at times
overbearing depressed tone of the film. The film introduces Alex
(Gabe Nevin) with many characteristics of the outcast teenager (both
physical and emotionally.) His family is divorcing, his is
withdrawn, is not the best skater and has reactive relationships
This film is a mixture of art house film and mystery. A security
guard has been killed and the school and Alex's community believe
that he is involved. Alex has inadvertently caused this death but is
not coming to terms with what he has done.
This film is an exploration into not only the way that youth feel
they do not have to accept responsibility for their actions, even
accidental as well as the fear and paranoia that destroys a person
after they have committed a crime. This is not able to be explored
as deeply as it could though as at times the musical overlays are
distracting and it the artistic filming takes away from the
emotional drama. The switch between 35mm filming and Super 8
filming of the skateboard board scenes is distracting and makes it
feel as though you are watching the xgames and takes you away from
the drama of the film.
This film is fascinating as it presents different filming styles, an
interesting soundtrack and script. The actors were cast via Myspace
but they are competent and have a sense of realism which could be a
factor of how they were cast.
The extras on this DVD are standard including the "making of" which
adds some insight into the style and is probably the only extra
Overall Paranoid Park is an intense film that should be watched in
the right frame of mind (this is not a popcorn on the couch film)
and portrays teenagers in a successful way.
DVD Special Features
Extended interview with director Gus Van Sant, cinematographer
Christopher Doyle and screenwriter Blake Nelson from ABC TV's AT THE
Original theatrical trailer
Dolby® Digital 5.1 Surround Sound