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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic involving and thought provoking drama
Paranoid Park is right up with the best of Gus Van Sant's movies and is especially appreciable in Blu-Ray format. I love everything about it - including the grain of the small gauge film stock and the very carefully crafted surround soundscape, but especially the acting which is 100% convincing - and there's a good reason for that (watch the extra features)...
Published on 7 Dec 2010 by John Frame

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Style, mise-en-scene and an absent substance
Whilst the premise seemed good, the final execution failed.

A young, socially inept boy, who seeks identity in the fantasized (perhaps overstated) world of skaters is forced to face his reality after causing the death of another. The central character (Jake Miller) is much like the movie, somewhat removed and dream-like. He seems as if he is merely part of his...
Published on 28 Sep 2010 by Kurt Clare


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic involving and thought provoking drama, 7 Dec 2010
By 
John Frame "There Is No Substitute For Equality" (Brisbane, Queensland Australia) - See all my reviews
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Paranoid Park is right up with the best of Gus Van Sant's movies and is especially appreciable in Blu-Ray format. I love everything about it - including the grain of the small gauge film stock and the very carefully crafted surround soundscape, but especially the acting which is 100% convincing - and there's a good reason for that (watch the extra features).

It's a hard hitting story which I expect will be most relevant to youth, but there's a universal truth in that we naturally question if there's a limit to how responsible we need to be for our actions - especially if no good for anyone else can be done by confessing. Humans have a surprising capacity to rationalise and move on. A similar point is made in Woody Allen's "Crimes and Misdemeanors", but that's the only similarity between these two very fine films.

A must see for any fan of Gus Van Sant.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great film, 14 Jun 2011
By 
Ø. Hjartnes (Bergen, NO) - See all my reviews
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This is an effortlessly subtle and dreamy visual treat for those who enjoy movies like Lost In Translation and such.
It isn't as laid back of course, just seemingly. The plot is much more dramatic of course, but in execution it isn't.
An amazing achievement when you realize just how much the director has done right in front of your eyes with the main character at the end of the film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Nearly As Bad..., 12 Jun 2011
This review is from: Paranoid Park [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
... as some on here are claiming.

A simple story written and acted well. Top marks to Gus van Sant for using local teenagers instead of bratty child actors (think Jaden Smith)

A great Indie film - not perfect - but certainly an inspiration to anyone looking to make a low budget movie.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Style, mise-en-scene and an absent substance, 28 Sep 2010
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This review is from: Paranoid Park [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
Whilst the premise seemed good, the final execution failed.

A young, socially inept boy, who seeks identity in the fantasized (perhaps overstated) world of skaters is forced to face his reality after causing the death of another. The central character (Jake Miller) is much like the movie, somewhat removed and dream-like. He seems as if he is merely part of his world, and his interactions are forced and at times staged. If left alone, and allowed to merely exist I suspect he would be a far happier individual, albeit a consequence of his dysfunctional family. If Gus Van Sant was attempting to portray such dysfunction and its consequence on a young mind, he may have partially succeeded, although I am of the opinion his final product is at times overstated and overstylised.

I was not convinced by the characters 'overwhelming guilt', instead I found him to be pathologically removed at times. His lies seemed calculated, as was his interactions with the police. For a displaced young man I found his intentional deception and lack of empathy, substantively revealing and beyond his youthful 'innocence'. Clearly he was either incapable of measuring truth or determined not to accept such. More accurately he finally chooses, and that choice ultimately lacks substance.

In the end the movie was a little grey and unsettled. Almost as if Gus Van Sant was more about setting the scene, as opposed to developing the character. The acting was a little naive, although Jake Miller was not bad. I suspect Van Sant wanted a natural, unrehearsed feel for the final product, which ironically had the effect of making those rehearsed scenes seem staged and unnatural.

Compared to 'Elephant', 'Mysterious Skin' and 'Brick' this film lacks what others have achieved so well.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dream-like, magnificent, 25 Feb 2008
This review is from: Paranoid Park [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
One of the most fantastic films I've seen in years; a kind of poem to disaffected and marginalised youth, unbelievably shot and scrored, a work of strange, dream-like beauty exploring the question, in a teenage world where no-one really connects on a meaningful level with anyone else, and from which parents are excluded, how do you expunge a guilty conscience ? Stunning.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Casting, storytelling and music, 11 Jun 2008
By 
Joshua E. Cole (Bournemouth, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Paranoid Park [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
Three elements work together in this film to create a near masterpeice. I am not a fan of art films but this film succeeds where many others have failed. The casting in this film contributes greatly to the authenticity of the story. So many films about teenagers have them behaving like really really cool twenty somethings. An example would be Chumscrubber. But teenagers aren't really cool or twenty something. They're ackward and different than adults. The cast in this film are real kids who often adlib their own dialogue instead of reading lines written by baby boomers. In this film adults are abscured and the focus is on the young people and their unique experiences. The storytelling is patient and that is probably what bothers a lot of the reviewers. There are no contrived action sequences with pumped up music. This is the story of a teenage kid hiding a secret. There really isn't a need to speed up the action. The music that accompanies the drama fits the setting perfectly. Elliot Smith began his music career in Portland where the film is set. Elliot's lonely style didn't win the artist any friends but it fits the struggle of the lead in this film. This is a compelling and interesting film that uses a brilliant and authentic cast of kids and an appropriate and beautiful soundtrack to tell a unique story. Overall a really great film for anyone with an open mind and an eagerness to see less ordinary films.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Style over substance, 29 May 2008
By 
The Yellow Dart (from one of the smaller moons of Jupiter) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Paranoid Park [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
This film revolves around a horrific incident involving a young skateboarder called Alex and the subsequent effect this has on him, but there didn't seem to be much going on here in terms of engaging characterization, the kid is so disaffected with nothing interesting to say that I really didn't care what happened to him or much less want to watch a whole film involving this character, he didn't seem deep just detached, maybe that's part of the point.
Much of the films 84 min running time is filled with meandering languorous shots of kids skateboarding and lots of dreamy soundscapes which are all very pretty and I suppose a window into Alex's psyche but Van Sant should have spent more time making the story interesting. Having said that I wasn't a big fan of Van Sant's elephant either which is quite similar, so if you liked that you might want to give this a try
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A haunting indie drama., 22 Sep 2010
By 
Ernie (Kent) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Paranoid Park [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
This is an excellent indie drama which follows the character of Alex, a 16 year old high school student who after a late night visit to a skate park, nicknamed locally as 'Paranoid Park', is involved in the accidental death of a security guard who chases him and an older skater for riding the railway cars in a train depot. After the other guy flees the scene Alex also leaves and says nothing about the incident to anyone.
The burden of Alex's guilt becomes even more unbearable when a detective investigating the guard's death begins interviewing local skateboarders believing a visitor of Paranoid Park could have been involved.
The film follows Alex over the course of a few days as he lives his day to day life, doing the things 16 year old kids do all the while hiding the fact he was involved in a man's death, the only outlet for the pressure a letter he writes detailing his experiences. It's a skilfully made film in which Gus Van Sant cleverly doesn't moralise on Alex's actions, instead simply taking as an almost voyeuristic look into the life of a generally good kid who makes a severely bad choice and does the wrong thing. The soundtrack is also real highlight with Van Sant's smart choice of avoiding a typical skater soundtrack and instead using jazzy orchestral scores from composer Nino Rota which shouldn't really work, but in reality cleverly compliments the dark, sombre and insular feel of the film.
If your a fan of character based indie films then this is a title which should be high on your wish list and if you enjoy this you should also check out the equally good 'Shotgun Stories' and 'Frozen River'.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Regrets, Regrets., 23 Aug 2008
By 
D. T. Brunetti "manmadeofjam" (North London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Paranoid Park [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
Y'know what I regret?
I regret believing that this was actually going to be a decent movie, or that Van Sant had taken his recent style and 'notched it up'. I loved Elephant, Last Days and had a lingering crush on some of his other films.
I remembered Gerry, remembered how I felt it was one long drawn out joke and Van Sant must've been making a pastiche of his own work in an attempt to play with the critics. So, I cast Gerry out of my mind and warmly remembered the others, felt a rush of excitement even up to the point where the sound collages and imagery at the start of this film collide..

And really, if you do like this movie, watch it while wearing fat chunky headphones - the immersion into Van Sant's soundscape is one of the best aspects of this film.

Van Sant hasn't lost some of his best qualities: the shots linger much longer than traditionally welcome, the sounds and sights are simultenously sharp, colourful, real and startling. The characterisation is decent, the relative unknown actors aren't awful and the dialogue is realistic (another decent aspect of Van Sant is the broken dialogue in one scene, and reitteration of that dialogue again in full - like a memory - used best in Elephant).

The problem with this film is, like mentioned by another reviewer, it's paltry stab at some deep philosophical concept of guilt, washed away by the rather obvious 'letter writing' idea is laughably naive. We follow Alex, he tells a vacuous story (curiously arranged backwards, clearly now only realised that way because otherwise the audience may realise how little of a story there actually is: while you might've thought it was a clever device, it wasn't)and there was so much room for real guilt.
If Van Sant's style is useful for anything it's lingering on the infintessimal gestures: how plainly 'awesome' it would've been for Alex to go through at least ten minutes of real torture.
(that said, the whole minute of guilt he went through was superb, the sounds flowed into my ears like liquid candy)

I'd give this film nearly 4 stars, or even 5, if this was a young director's first stab at an indie flick. After all, it is better than most can ponder about while on the toilet, but for Van Sant he should've left the idea scribbled on the back of his Daily Whatever.

Pseudo-Intellectual, Sub-Philosophical existential angst for the new middle class mtv generation.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bad Acting But Its Still A Good Film, 14 Sep 2008
By 
Claire Frances (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Paranoid Park [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
I went to the cinema to see Paranoid Park at the on a whim after I had been refused a ticket to see Hostel Part 2, I didn't have a clue what it was about. So I sat down in the cinema chair not sure what to expect.
Paranoid Park is about a sullen teenage boy who is racked by guilt as a result of accidentally killing someone.
As far as the acting is concerned its not good at all, I don't see the star of the show (Gabe Nevins) getting a decent role again unless the very laid back Gus Van Sant casts him. I think there is a great likeness between Larry Clark & Gus Van Sant both their styles of directing make their films have an almost documentary feel to them, they're also both fans of ameteur actors (clearly Clark is better at choosing them.) Although despite my ranting the acting is bad in a good way if that makes any sense at all. The fact that the acting isn't good doesn't take from the movie.
The lead character is supposed to have a hidden depth which somehow comes across well.
You're probably wondering why I bothered to give this film four star's because all I'm doing is running it down, but this is a great scater movie & it also deals with all those normal teen issues, like divorce & being pressurised into sex.
I think for me the best thing about Paranoid Park is that you can actually believe that something like this could happen in real life.
My advice is check it out, rent it, buy it whatever. Its a good movie. I think Gus Van Sant is a really smart guy & he probably knew that by casting bad actors it would someohow accelerate the depth & that behind- the-eyes emotion that the film manages to achieve.
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Paranoid Park [2007] [DVD]
Paranoid Park [2007] [DVD] by Gus Van Sant (DVD - 2008)
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