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by Peter Knegt
July 28, 2010 1:29 AM
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Big Screen | Duvall Gets High Marks For "Get Low"

A scene from Aaron Schneider's "Get Low." [Photo courtesy of Sony Classics]

After picking up the film at last year's Toronto International Film Festival, Sony Pictures Classics held back Aaron Schneider's "Get Low" so as to not let it get lost in a late 2009 awards slate that was already quite stacked for the distributor. Ten months later, the alternative plan - a late summer release with assumed hopes of some crossover success and perhaps a 2010 awards push - is about to come to fruition. The film is hitting theaters this Friday, and critics' praise of its lead performance from Robert Duvall should only help the film's cause.

"Get Low" follows Felix Bush (Robert Duvall), a man who has lived as a hermit deep in the Tennessee woods for the past four decades. One day, he decides he wants to throw himself a "funeral party" before he actually passes, and enlists the help of a local undertaker (Bill Murray). indieWIRE's Eric Kohn was more impressed with Duvall's performance than he was the film itself. "This dainty feel-good movie about death has picked up tremendous accolades for the focused emoting of 79-year-old lead Robert Duvall," Kohn writes. "The buzz obscures the truth: His expected talent is the sole redeeming factor in an otherwise insipid product."

The Village Voice's Chuck Wilsonis less harsh, singling out Duvall and calling the film a "pleasure to watch" despite a "maddening" third act. The Hollywood Reporter's Kirk Honeycutt seems to feel similarly, saying it, "comes briefly to life but lacks a dramatic conclusion." But he too says Duvall is "his cantankerous best as the old man who turns out to be more scared than scary."

Meanwhile, Variety's Joe Leydon outright loves the film. "With a mix of sly humor, homespun grace and affecting poignancy," he writes, "'Get Low' casts a well-nigh irresistible spell while spinning a Depression-era folk tale from the Tennessee backwoods." So does Cinematical's Scott Weinberg, who writing at the Toronto Film Festival, called the film "an excellent little dramatic piece that's awash in humanity, warmth, insight, and wit."

The divisiveness is notable on criticWIRE, where "Get Low" has a "B-" average from 21 grades that range from an "A+" (from the aforementioned Mr. Leydon) to a "D" (from a few folks). Check out links to some of their reviews on the film's page as well as other films opening this weekend, plus recent theatrical releases below. They include synopses, trailers, and a variety of criticWIRE grades and links to reviews.

iW Film Calendar & criticWIRE:
criticWIRE | Opening this week | Opening this month | All Films A - Z

criticWIRE: Films Opening This Week

The Dry Land (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

Get Low (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B-

The Extra Man (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: C+

The Concert (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: C


criticWIRE: Films Currently In Theaters

Dogtooth (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: A-

The Agony and the Ectascy of Phil Spector (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: A-

Alamar (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: A-

Mugabe and the White African (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: A-

The Kids Are All Right (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

Restrepo (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

I Am Love (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

Inception (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B+

Countdown To Zero (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

Winnebago Man (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

[REC] 2 (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B

Life During Wartime (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B-

Kisses (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B-

The Girl Who Played With Fire (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: B-

Valhalla Rising (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: C+

The Killer Inside Me (iW film page)
Average criticWIRE rating: C+

Peter Knegt is indieWIRE's Associate Editor. Follow him on Twitter and on his blog.

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