"Get Low" takes place in the thirties and is about Felix who lives in the Tennessee woods for forty years as a foul-tempered recluse having little to do with the local townspeople. The old bearded coot is played by Robert Duvall who does a great but effortless-seeming acting job. He has a guilty secret which has driven him into seclusion. When an old acquaintance dies, he decides to have a funeral, but he decides he wants it to be a party, and he wants people to tell stories about him, and he wants to be there while he's still alive. Felix infrequently comes into town with his old mule. It's fun looking at the old thirties cars and the period hearse.
It's only later as the movie moves along that you realize this is really a mystery movie. One of the first clues comes when an old flame Sissy Spacek runs out on Felix after seeing a photograph on his wall. As a viewer you wonder what gets her so agitated. What Felix wants is one particular friend, an Afro-American minister (played by Billy Cobbs) to tell what he knows about him. Not that Felix built a beautiful church for the minister but what he confessed to him.
As the funeral director, Bill Murray is very winning playing the part of a man who is funny, sly, maybe a bit of a crook. He is only too happy to get paid for the strange funeral party because his business is tanking, not like his former home in Chicago where people were regularly getting bumped off.
It's actually a tour de force role for Duvall, but movie acting has gotten so deeply ingrained in him that he can make it seem organic. The movie is about peeling away layers of humanity in each character, and we slowly see them evolve into better people that we can admire.
It's a piece of magic storytelling which moves at a stately pace, a measured pace, but you don't get bored and you don't want it rushed because it is inevitably going to be revelatory, and Felix's secret is going to be eased out.
Basically it's a very simple story concerning a man who does not want to go to his grave with a guilty conscience.
Murray's young assistant, the deus ex machina, the catalyst, for a lot that happens in the story, is well-played by good-looking young Lucas Black. It's a movie of subtlety, humor, and deep human emotion, but I do have a lot of trouble remembering what I think is a lousy title.