directed by Kelly Reichardt
Kelly Reichardt’s quiet and devastating film about a girl and her dog is like the answer every to romanticized, youthful road tramp film ever made, and it resonates like you wouldn’t believe. This is actually the film that made me see Michelle Williams with new eyes, much the same way that Monster’s Ball revealed Heath Ledger to me as a true actor. Talent wise, Williams was always the strongest element of Dawson’s Creek, and yes, I watched that show. I watched the hell out of that show, and I am still bitter about Mr. Leary buying the farm in that stupid(!) car wreck. But anyway… I always considered Williams a so so actress best suited for peripheral television roles, but her bare bones, non showy and genuine delivery is what separates good from great, and Williams is great in every way (go see Blue Valentine already, or Synecdoche, New York). Williams plays Wendy, on her way to Alaska for a job with her dog Lucy. Already in financial dire straits, her situation goes from bad to worse when Lucy goes missing and her car breaks down. Reichardt’s tale about a threadbare existence is realistic and earnest, and depressing, but well worth viewing. And one of my favorite minor role talents, Will Patton (who was tremendous in Armageddon), makes much of very little as the mechanic responsible for fixing Wendy’s last shred of dignity. It’s also the first film released under Beastie Boy Adam Yauch’s Oscilloscope Laboratories, a film production and distribution company newly formed and very exciting.
Needless to say, I am very excited for Kelly Reichardt’s new film, Meek’s Cutoff, also starring Michelle Williams. It looks about as heavy as anything I’m bound to come across this year.