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Leaves of Grass
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The film revolves around the intertwining lives of two identical twins, played by the incredibly talented Edward Norton. Ivy League philosophy professor Bill Kincaid is lured back to his Oklahoma hometown as part of a scheme cooked up by Mary Jane growing brother Brady. The first half hour of the film moves slowly but quickly gains momentum when the two siblings eventually cross paths.
The best part of this movie is easily watching Norton put on brilliant performances as both brothers. The supporting cast is top-notch as well, especially director Tim Blake Nelson in the role of Bolger, Brady's partner in crime. Nelson slips into the role effortlessly, which is no surprise considering he himself is a real-life Okie (a Jewish one at that, which influences a subplot of the movie). My only gripe with casting was Richard Dreyfuss as Jewish gangster Pug Rothbaum, with Dreyfuss giving one of the most bizarre attempts at a Southern accent in film.
I enjoyed the cinematography, Jeff Danna's work on the score, and the infusion of philosophy into the film. As a Southerner, I appreciated the fact that Brady's accent was no reflection on his intelligence. While not as well-read as his sibling, he still gets the occasional profound message across. The only real complaint I have about the film are the jarring scenes of violence.Read more ›
The script is great. Beginning with a philosophy lecture that doesn't feel at all forced and eventually delving into some pretty shocking violence (and lots of pot smoking...with pot that LOOKS LIKE REAL POT! Seriously, pretty convincing for once) the film is a down-home roller coaster ride that even manages to work in Whitman's titular namesake to pretty good effect. Don't except straight up comedy, as the film is pretty gory at times. The tone, in fact, takes a sort of 180 degree shift about 2/3 of the way in, becoming more dramatic ala a warmer, brighter Fargo or a more subdued, less western-oriented Red Rock West. The effect of this shift is a little disorienting, but ultimately it works, seeming to freshen the proceedings. There is palpable suspense. We feel for Norton's characters, both of them. His accent is pretty good and his eyes (especially as the rural brother) are strange and intoxicating. I can't stress enough how unique and interesting this film is. It works as a crime drama, stoner comedy, philosophical treatise on life/the choices we make that make us.Read more ›
My favorite thing about this film is that it was a new story, not the same boring, meaningless drivel that usually ends up making the most money. The actors & producers weren't trying to make everyone happy, they were trying to make a good film & knew it wouldn't appeal to everyone.
The thing which strikes me most about the story, and yet doesn't get mentioned - is that all of the violence and death in this film comes from the fact that the grass is under prohibition - just like all the violence which resulted from alcohol prohibition and just as regrettable. If Brady could have worked on his agriculture without the threat of prison, he wouldn't have had to deal with a shady dealer of dangerous narcotics for financing. If his plants were legal, he could have resolved his business dispute in court instead of with violence and nobody would have been killed.
Anyway... good movie, I'm glad the film industry still takes risks by shooting quirky, not-for-everyone stories that they know won't make as much money as vapid action thrillers. Every actor in this film earned their keep by presenting believable representations, and of course Ed Norton rocked the hell out of both roles. Not bad camera work either... I read a couple reviews that the "twins" don't exactly look each other in the eye when they're talking to each other... wha? I was too busy enjoying the story to notice nitpicks like that.
I don't recommend it for folks that aren't ready for movie that is rated R based on violence and needs to be.
Good movie, but don't be fooled by characterizations you may read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not comical. Not a thriller. The DVD back lied! Only good part was good acting by Norton playing two distinct roles.Published 2 months ago by E. Broz
Bill and Brady are identical twins from the Little Dixie region of Oklahoma. Bill left his redneck roots and family behind to become a famous professor of classical philosophy. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Peter S. Bradley
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