Universal acclaim - based on 27 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 69 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: An unsolved murder at Portland's infamous Paranoid Park brings detectives to a local high school, propelling a young skater into a moral odyssey in which he must not only deal with the pain and disconnect of adolescence but also the consequences of his own actions. As director of "My Own Private Idaho", "Good Will Hunting", "To Die For", and "Elephant", Gus Van Sant has created some of the most memorable works about youth ever committed to film. At the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, he was awarded the 60th Anniversary Prize for Paranoid Park, which is largely considered one of his finest films. (IFC First Take) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Appropriately structured like a ride on skateboard: It swoops back and forth in time, hovers in midair, twists back on itself over and over again, then rolls into silence.
  2. A haunting, voluptuously beautiful portrait of a teenage boy who, after being suddenly caught in midflight, falls to earth.
  3. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Through immaculate use of picture, sound and time, the director adds another panel to his series of pictures about disaffected, disconnected youth.
  4. Reviewed by: Jason McBride
    It might seem, from 2002's "Gerry" to his ersatz Kurt Cobain biopic, "Last Days," that Gus Van Sant has been making the same movie: an enigmatic and poetic paean to (teenaged) male beauty, disaffection and inscrutability.
  5. 80
    Van Sant is such an assured filmmaker that Paranoid Park is almost inescapably absorbing; he has found a particularly engaging leading man in Miller, whose expressive, even painterly face goes from blank to angelic in the blink of a long-lashed eye.
  6. 75
    Slight but fascinating.
  7. There's some striking camerawork by Christopher Doyle (in 35-millimeter) and Rain Kathy Li (in Super-8), though this doesn't alter the overall feeling of random, nihilistic drift.

See all 27 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 33
  2. Negative: 13 out of 33
  1. Aug 26, 2010
    Often when directors become big and famous, they'll lament about having to sacrifice personal projects for the 'big blockbuster,' as if that was some excuse for selling out (*cough*GeorgeLucas*cough*). That's why I have a lot of respect for Gus van Sant, a guy who struck a chord with audiences and critics alike in the late 90s, but flew completely under the radar afterward, writing and directing films that he felt were significant to him. "Paranoid Park" is a perfect example of that - a sort of skater-crime-drama about a kid who is accidentally responsible for the death of a cop. Fortunately the movie doesn't hinge on plot twists, but focuses on the kid, Alex, and how his life is affected before and after. The film is spliced with what looks to be home videos of skateboard footage and is topped off with new and young actors, giving the whole movie an amateur vibe. This turns out to be an advantage - there's nothing that complements the confusion that comes with being a teenager as well as a sense of authenticity. Overall, the movie doesn't pack as much of a punch as "Elephant," or isn't as absorbing as "Gerry," but is likely to stay with you and keep you wondering, "what if that was me?" Expand

See all 33 User Reviews