Saturday, July 16, 2011

Southern Gothic Revisited: Get Low vs. Chrystal

Two Southern Gothic Tales: Aaron Schneider's Get Low (2010), set in Tennessee by way of Georgia during the Great Depression, and Ray McKinnon's Chrystal (2005), set in more contemporary backwoods Arkansas. Get Low provides a comfortable vehicle for Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Bill Murray and company to do their thing, though the backstory isn't strong enough to support the front story. Chrystal provides a much sharper, darker tale, peppered with mordant humor and with a superb ensemble cast including Lisa Blount (now deceased), Ray McKinnon (the writer-director), Billy Bob Thornton and Grace Zabriskie.

In brief, Get Low can be seen by a wider audience without squirming, but Chrystal is the better (and edgier) movie. With Chrystal, beware of foul language and chillingly dubious situations.

At one point in Chrystal, Billy Bob Thornton sports an enormous beard, as does Robert Duvall in Get Low.

Today's Rune: Initiation.


Mona said...

Gothic never cease to thrill, ever since Mary Shelly Frankenstein! Even today, Harry Potter is so popular!

jodi said...

Erik, my son also recommended
'Chrystal' to me. Goth-not usually, but that cast is hard to resist!

Bob Ignizio said...

I'll have to check out 'Chrystal'. You're dead on about 'Get Low', though. Some fine performances, but there's just not much to it.