Paranoid Park

Director: Gus Van Sant
Year Released: 2007
Rating: 1.5

Pensive, deconstructed after-school special with a noted absence of astute adult figures (Van Sant either cuts out their faces or shows them at a distance) and an abundance of wayward kids, and in particular a teen who hangs out at a local skate park (a sanctuary for misfits) and 'accidentally' kills a security guard. Though Van Sant intends for his minimalism to be profound, I'm not convinced it is - there's extensive slow-mo footage of skateboarders and teens looking lost and confused, and the sole attempt at introspection - the teen's 'creative' writings in V.O. - don't contribute much to the argument as to what is so very wrong with These Kids These Days (unless it's just the ol' Parents bit I mentioned). While watching, I was reminded of Larry Clark's Wassup Rockers - both Clark and Van Sant have an interest in teen life but go about it in different ways: Clark shows them outlandish and reckless and busy fucking and sucking, while Van Sant wants them moody and a little sad ... and even the sexual aspect of their lives is something a little gloomy. Van Sant is praised, Clark is vilified. The truth lies somewhere between them.