2 out of 5 stars
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This is one of those pretentious arty films that, first, try to re-establish a filmmaker's reputation after he or she makes a couple of crowd-pleasing Hollywood movies (like, say, Good Will Hunting and Finding Forrester) and, second, resolutely refuse to please any crowds. It's a two-man show, and both characters are called Gerry. They both also use the word "gerry" as a noun and verb in catch-phrase-filled sentences like "we might get gerried if we do that", just to keep us on our toes. And they refer to other Gerrys too. The story sees them driving silently across the desert, then taking a wilderness hike to "that thing", but they unwisely leave the path to take a shortcut. Bad idea. And after a couple of days wandering around the empty landscape they finally start to face their mortality.

There's some great stuff in here; in a hideously arty style Affleck, Damon and Van Sant actually tell us a few things about the whole man-vs-man and man-vs-nature debate. But you have to look pretty hard to get it. And you have the feeling you're not getting that much. Basically the film is just a series of gorgeously photographed scenes in the desert (filmed in California, Nevada and Argentina), often so stunningly remote that it takes our breath away. And Van Sant shoots it with long, languorous takes that often go on and on for no apparent reason. We never learn much about who these guys are (there's hardly any dialog), but Affleck and Damon are quite good in the roles, making the quiet desperation palpable and real, in surreal sort of way. Don't be fooled by the three big names involved here, this is art only a die-hard film fan will like. And even then it's pretty hard going.

cert 15 themes, language 13.May.03

dir Gus Van Sant
scr Casey Affleck, Matt Damon, Gus Van Sant
with Casey Affleck, Matt Damon
release US 14.Feb.03; UK 22.Aug.03
02/US 1h43

Lost in America. Gerry and Gerry (Damon and Affleck, below) are in the middle of nowhere ... in more ways than one.
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2003 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall