Old Joy (2006)

Old Joy
Director: Kelly Reichardt
Writer: Kelly Reichardt, Jonathan Raymond
Based on: Jonathan Raymond‘s short story
Cast: Daniel London, Will Oldham
Part of: Real America

Mark (Daniel London) and Kurt (Will Oldham) are old friends who haven’t seen each other in a while. When Kurt invites Mark on a weekend camping trip, Mark gladly accepts, if only to get a break. As they spend time together, they slowly reconnect, even though they are at completely different places in life.

Oh boy, that film was way too boring for anything. It’s not even 80 minutes long but it felt like it was three hours, at least. Three boring hours. I didn’t connect with either of the characters and I just couldn’t care less about it in general.

Me and Kelly Reichardt… somehow that just never works out the way it should. I liked Wendy and Lucy, but my first reaction was to reject Michelle Williams’ fantastic performance completely. Meek’s Cutoff on the other hand was excellent in everything except for the utter boredom that I felt watching it. And here’s Old Joy that – much like Meek’s Cutoff – had me bored out of my mind pretty much immediately (and then even falling asleep for a bit).

It’s not that Old Joy isn’t a smart film. It certainly has many issues that it addresses more or less overtly. But none of these issues really interest me and the movie didn’t manage to make me interested, either.

There are long stretches without any conversations between the two guys – which I didn’t mind so much. But when they do talk, I just wanted to roll my eyes most of the time. At both of them, but especially at Kurt.

The movie just never really creates any tension. Maybe if I had cared more about Kurt and Mark, I would have felt differently about it. But fact is, I didn’t and I just wanted the whole thing to end.

Summarising: If you like Reichardt movies, go for it. I can’t recommend it.

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