Thursday, January 23, 2014

Low Down (2014)

Director: Jeff Preiss

Writers: Amy Albany, Topper Lilien

Composer: Ohad Talmor

Starring: John Hawkes, Elle Fanning, Glenn Close, Lena Headey, Taryn Manning, Peter Dinklage, Flea, Burton Ritchie, Tim Daly, Caleb Landry Jones, Billy Drago

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Junk, jazz, and other fairy tales from childhood.

Plot: A look at the life of pianist Joe Albany from the perspective of his young daughter, as she watches him contend with his drug addiction during the 1960s and '70s jazz scene.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? Maybe.

Sundance film Festival 2014

Geez, this won't qualify for the feel-good movie at Sundance this year.  The story focuses on jazz pianist Joe Albany (Hawkes), his lifelong addiction to drugs and his relationship to the two women that meant the most to him, his daughter, Amy Fanning) and his mother (Close) but this isn't just another drug addiction film nor is it a bio of a great musician.  It's quiet and sad.  It's optimistic with dreams that won't come true.  It's a string of moments that, taken as a whole, paint a picture of despair and love.  It feels real.  Some scenes are out of order and some don't have a setup or resolution.  They aren't required.  Director Preiss takes that bold step and delivers a film that shows you that you don't need to be spoon fed with a definite beginning, middle and end.  The ONLY thing I was left wanting was more of the musician element.  As a musician I would really like to have seen any of the success he had for the two years John spent in Paris recording.  It's mentioned in the film but it's one of those "Two Years Later" title cards with a little bit of dialogue to fill in some of that gap.  I realize the impact that would have with the flow of the film and the two hour running time.  The performances are outstanding.  Everyone delivers the goods.  Everyone.  Impressive.

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