Life is not Poetic
It is altogether something else entirely. It is a misidentified path to the wrong side of the well for most, and a constant struggle to keep on the straight and narrow for most everyone else.
Enlightened humans endeavor to rise above the human condition, but most slip back into the tragedy of the mire as if somehow magnetic to is malevolent tides that are there to ensnare us all, and surely drown some us. The film "Leaves of Grass" is less to do with Walt Whitman's opus, and more of a discussion of this aforementioned human condition, and yet still a comedy of sorts.
Darkened to coal is the comedy of this film that is an acting tour de force for Edward Norton, who plays both roles of identical twin brothers: One stuck in Little Dixie, Oklahoma, Brady Kincaid, growing outstanding marijuana, the other a published professor of philosophy, Brady Kincaid, from the Ivy League School of Brown University England college. The highly educated and enlightened brother, Bill, turned his back on his redneck roots, his esoteric mother, played by an aging Susan Sarandon, endeavored to escape the quagmire of a life he was loathe to lead.
The redneck brother, Brady, stayed close to home, his roots and his mother, but found his crazy world of vintage pot production closing in on him when his could not escape the foul characters that inhabit the illegal world of narcotics manufacturing. Bill, who strived to live the more structured life of a man of great knowledge and fine letters, has grown distant and cold to his past, which robs from him what could be a more purposeful life in the present.
For both brothers it is a strange world in this Tim Blake Nelson film, who wrote the script and directed the film, that examines as much the depth of human misery as it explores the black comedy that emanates from all inequitable conditions great and small. Tim Blake wrote himself into the film as Brady's loyal white trash comrade, who loved the countrified twin brother as much as Peter loved the Lord.
This well paced 105 minute film is tight and like a boxer in training works out all of its timely punches well in advance of the fight, and accordingly, before the camera rolls. Tim Blake Nelson made his small film a success by writing a credible story, with humorous characters, and Edward Norton flexing his range as an actor in every frame.
One of Edward Norton's best roles: Above and below.
Remarkably, Director Nelson hired Keri Russell in a small role as enlightened country poet Janet, who tied in Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass," and veteran character actor Richard Dreyfuss, in an even smaller role, as Jewish narcotics impresario, and Brady Kincaid nemesis, Pug Rothman. In this small independent film, the cast was just good enough to pull off this character driven film, and make it real enough to pull one into the flow of this quirky little film, and it worked for me.
Rent it. It may work for you too.
Rated R. Released on DVD October 12, 2010.
This post appears courtesy of our sister site, Beaufort County NOW, with their expressed permission.