Old Joy Review

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Mark and Kurt are old friends who have chosen very different paths in life and their differences come to the fore in a trek through Oregon's Cascade Mountains.


Rarely has so little been said in a road movie to such poignant effect as in this meditation on the passage of time in both human affiliations and the vast American wilderness.

There’s a wisp of Sideways about the byplay between Will Oldham and Daniel London, as the inveterate dropout and the bourgeois convert who defy the latter’s pregnant wife to go trekking in the Pacific Northwest. But director Kelly Reichardt is as intrigued by the irretrievability of the passing landscape as she is by the men’s growing realisation that this will be the last hurrah for a once-tight friendship that has simply become overgrown by time. A sublime study in quietude, acceptance and suppressed masculine sentiment.

Making exceptional use of stillness and silence, this is a rather sad study of the passing of traditional concepts of American masculinity along with the landscape that forged them.