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Get Low movie poster

Get Low: Movie Review

Comedy, Drama
Rated: PG-13
Directed by: Aaron Schneider
Starring: Bill Murray, Robert Duvall, Gerald McRaney, Lucas Black, Sissy Spacek
Released by: Sony Pictures Classics

In Short: A great cast and terrific performances cannot save this interminably slow drama from a movie’s worst fate: to be boring.

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Great Acting Cannot Save This Interminable Flick

"Get Low” is a classic example of what not to do when directing a movie. Sure, first-time feature-film director Aaron Schneider, who originally made his career in Hollywood as a television cinematographer, figured out one thing to do right. He was able to convince four terrific actors—Robert Duvall, Bill Murray, Sissy Spacek and Lucas Black—to star in his homespun 1930s tale of a Southern hermit who decides to stage his own funeral. All four give nuanced, believable performances, as Duvall’s curmudgeonly character comes back to life after a self-imposed 40-year exile from humanity.

But the pacing of “Get Low” is slow as molasses. So slow as to turn this quirky tale, which is apparently based on a true story (the part about the hermit going to his own funeral, at least), into a slog. It’s seriously tough to stay awake through the whole process; but if you do fall asleep, there’s no need to worry, for the action moves at such a glacial pace that a 20-minute nap in the middle of the story will not make an iota of difference.

Bill Murray in Get Low Robert Duvall in Get Low

“Get Low” got a good buzz at the 2009 Toronto Film Festival, but tellingly did not receive any awards there, nor anyplace else it screened, including both the Sundance and Tribeca festivals. It is getting a big push from Sony Classics in the hopes that it will generate an Oscar nomination or two for Duvall and company, which might just happen if there are no other great performances coming down the pike this fall.

But as a film, “Get Low,” with its deathly dull, plodding pace, is so forgettable that unless the Sony publicity machine pulls off a miracle, no one will remember it by the time awards season rolls around.

Reviewed by Jenny Peters

(Updated 08/02/10 CT)

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