- Deleted scene with commentary
- David Gordon Green's short films: Pleasant Grove (with commentary) and Physical Pinball
- Charlie Rose interview with David Gordon Green
- Exclusive new interviews with the cast
- Clu Gulager's 1969 short film A Day with the Boys, an influence on George Washington
The Criterion Collection
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Over the course of one hot summer, a group of children in the rural south are forced to confront a tangle of difficult choices in a decaying world. An ambitiously constructed, sensuously photographed meditation on adolescence, the first feature film by director David Gordon Green features breakout performances from an award-winning ensemble cast.
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These reviewers in particular mentioned the movie George Washington as his great movie. I then purchased all of his early movies and I making my way through them, and they are great movies.
This movie was Green's first full-length and it is a beautiful, artistic, engrossing, tragic and ultimately relatable movie. The term Southern Gothic gets tossed around so much that it does not have much meaning anymore, and the most that people can say about these movies that they "aspire" to be Southern Gothic. George Washington is Southern Gothic - it is that simple.
What I was most struck by is the familiarity Green had with every aspect of this movie. From the decayed and dangeroud industrial sets and scenes, the unsupervised innocent children at play, the interaction of those in these towns that live to get by and little more. This was a beautiful story in Green's head from many pieces of his life that he made into a whole and complete narrative in this movie, and one gets the sense that like Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing, this was a story that Green had been wanting to tell for some time.
A beautiful movie and great enought to deservedly be in the Criterion Collection.
The film aims to explore a territory that adults know little about or choose to forget: that children (especially children who are left to themselves a good deal) don't think of themselves as innocent even in their play, and that they see themselves as making decisions fraught with moral consequences, that the questions who to be friends with, who to trust, who to love, and how to deal with hurt are every bit as profound for the child as the so-called "deeper" philosophical and political and moral questions that even adults tend to evade but discuss in situations of crisis. The film is slow -- it inhabits the same cinematic space as films by Terrence Malick, or some of the films by Gus Van Sant -- but it rewards patience (not in the sense of "its hard to watch but it is culturally important so suffer through it" but in the sense of the best films that, if you let them, and don't judge them by your own standards of entertainment, they can teach you something about what is possible in cinema). The opening sequence, in which two children break up, and we are introduced to the space of the story and to the voice of the "narrator," is one of the most thrilling openings in any film I've seen -- all at once the very first time I saw this film (on a whim) I knew I was seeing something profound and original. I've enjoyed everything by David Gordon Green that I've seen since (Undertow and All the Real Girls) but nothing matches the fluent and meditative originality of this film that overwhelmed me on first viewing and that continues to move and astonish me even after several viewings. In my book this is one of the profound and enduring debut films of a filmmaker whose work places substance over style and yet manages to be unique and original in the telling, films like "Badlands," "Stranger than Paradise," "Sex, Lies and Videotape," "Shadows," and, more recently, "Funny Ha Ha."