RESTLESS (Gus Van Sant, 2011)

Indoors or out-, Portland, Oregon, has never looked so achingly, mysteriously and ethereally beautiful as it does in Portland’s pride Gus Van Sant’s deeply moving Restless, a fairy-taleish, brimmingly poetic boy-girl romance in and out of woods and graveyards at night, and infiltrated by restless ghosts and near-ghosts, and dreamily floating along the border between […]

DRUGSTORE COWBOY (Gus Van Sant, 1989)

The following is an entry in my 100 Greatest English-Language Films list. Filmed in Portland, Oregon, Gus Van Sant’s Drugstore Cowboy, from James Fogle’s novel, is without agenda—an unsentimental account of a young man’s dogged attempt to lift himself out of a makeshift lifestyle composed of drugs and theft. The film ends ambiguously, with Bob […]

GOOD WILL HUNTING (Gus Van Sant, 1997)

Good Will Hunting disappoints. Mala Noche (1985), Drugstore Cowboy (1989) and My Own Private Idaho (1991), three other, deeply personal works by Gus Van Sant, are wonderful in their comprehension of offbeat experience and the harsh underbelly of American life; and, though a departure from his trademark atmospheric lyricism, his To Die For (1995) is […]