Robert Duvall is in an elite group of American actors because he has aged gracefully and consistently given superb performances in his 50-year career. His newest film, Get Low, is an excellent example of Duvall’s perfected craft.
Felix Bush (Duvall) is a hermit with a dark past, made even darker through the decades of speculation from the local town-folk. In an attempt to set things straight, Bush decides to throw a party celebrating his death. The catch: Bush wants to attend the party while he is still alive.
Get Low’s themes are part Big Fish, part Unforgiven. Since Bush keeps to himself, the only information that townies have concerning him is through grossly exaggerated urban legend. As much as the film is about redemption, it’s also about the fear of the unknown and the consequences of seclusion. Get Low is about loneliness as well as making peace at the end of one’s life.
As previously mentioned, Duvall gives a fantastic performance. His Felix Bush is understated, yet lives up to the larger-than-life persona that the townspeople know him by. It’s a contained portrayal that perfectly contrasts who this character is thought to be. Nearly 50 years ago, Duvall played Boo Radley in the film adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird, a role that helped establish himself as an actor. Through their negative notoriety, Radley and Bush have interesting similarities. Like Atticus Finch said: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.” Bush is almost as good of an example of this as Boo.
I would be remiss to not mention Bill Murray, as he gives a spectacular performance as the funeral home director, Frank Quinn. Since 1998’s Rushmore, Murray has transformed from a slapstick-heavy, over-the-top comedian into a dry, almost deadpan one. Which is funnier is up to personal taste, but you have to admire the man’s ability to reinvent himself and continue to be a force in cinema 30 years after his Saturday Night Live days.
With a resume that includes The Godfather trilogy, MASH, and To Kill a Mockingbird, Duvall continues to shine as he approaches 80 years old. Go to see Get Low because of his performance, but stay for the story. The film may be a bit on the slow side for younger viewers, but I promise those with patience will be rewarded if they stick with it.
Popularity: 1% [?]