Two pals (Matt Damon and Casey Affleck) go hiking in the desert and get lost. That’s all there is to the screenplay (credited to Damon, Affleck and director Gus Van Sant—meaning, in other words, that they probably made it up as they went along). Van Sant treats us to shots of the boys tromp-tromp-tromping along in silence for seven and eight minutes at a time, interspersed with scenes of them doing one dumb thing or another to worsen their predicament. (In an early scene, we hear them chatting about a TV show, and they can’t even get clear on the rules to Wheel of Fortune; these guys are total dimwits, no error.) It’s a sort of experimental film-school riff on Waiting for Godot
, and though it’s pretty tedious, it’s better than it probably sounds. Harris Savides’ desert photography is excellent.