Get Low

Rated 4.0

Felix Bush, a man who has lived most of his life in eerie solitude outside a small town, arranges to have a grand public funeral for himself that he himself will attend. It sounds rather like a semi-allegorical tall tale from the pen of Mark Twain, and with its period setting (lower Midwest in the 1920s) and southern-fried time-weathered star (Robert Duvall as the mysterious loner), it makes good on at least part of that inherent promise. Two helpful morticians, the blithely craven Frank Quinn (Bill Murray) and his wide-eyed assistant Buddy (Lucas Black), complicate things in interesting ways—the one via social and cultural ironies and the other in nascently mythic terms. The ambivalent return of an old flame (Sissy Spacek) augurs more than it actually delivers, and the film’s climactic scenes are something of a letdown as well. Duvall’s Felix Bush, however, is a fiercely unsentimental, self-lacerating curmudgeon throughout, and that combined with the quirky social landscape mapped out in the build-up lingers in the memory well after the rather bland payoff of the final scene has passed on. Pageant Theatre. Rated PG-13