Cannes Wrap-Up: "Death Proof" Stands On Its Own; "Paranoid Park" Is Powerful

by | May 21, 2007 | Comments

Quentin Tarantino‘s expanded version of "Death Proof" premieres at Cannes; does it top the "Grindhouse" version? Plus, Gus Van Sant‘s powerful "Paranoid Park" and the Guillermo del Toro-produced stunner, "The Orphanage."

For those who’ve seen "Grindhouse" (and, judging by its relatively poor box office, not many of you have), Quentin Tarantino‘s extended version of "Death Proof" will not come as a colossal revelation. Its narrative arc remains the same: Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) uses his souped-up stunt car to terrorize innocent young women before meeting his match. There are two scenes notably included in the longer version (there’s some amusing banter in a convenience store, and yes, we get to see Stuntman Mike get a lapdance). Freed from the conceptual trappings of "Grindhouse," "Death Proof" works better as a stand-alone movie, largely because Tarantino’s slower, talkier film isn’t following the horrifyingly wacky zombie-thon "Planet Terror."


"Death Proof"

Gus Van Sant‘s hypnotic "Paranoid Park" spans several particularly dark days in the life of Alex (Gabe Nevins), a teenage skater dealing with the divorce of his parents and the tenuous nature of his relationship with Jennifer (Taylor Momsen), who’s convinced he loves skating more than her. Alex is intrigued by the crowd down at Paranoid Park, a makeshift skate park where a motley crew of damaged runaways and burnouts practice their craft. He meets an older guy who says he can help Alex jump a train. But when the two actually make it on, they’re discovered by a security guard, with tragic results. Alex sinks into a pit of guilt and confusion, trying to find a way to come clean without getting in trouble. The story is told matter-of-factly; this isn’t one of those what’s-the matter- with-kids-these-days cautionary tales, but a clear-eyed depiction of a decent, relatively bright kid who’s made a very bad mistake. The film has an uncanny ear for the way teenagers really communicate with one another; nothing is done for effect, and there are no big speeches or moments. Rapturously shot by Christopher Doyle (Wong Kar-Wai‘s favorite cinematographer) and utilizing music by Nino Rota and Elliott Smith to evocative effect, "Paranoid Park" is a haunted, sublime tale of teen angst. It got a round of applause at the screening I attended, as well as a thumbs-up from the Hollywood Reporter.


Gus Van Sant’s "Paranoid Park."

One of the left-field surprises of the festival so far is "The Orphanage," a haunted-house tale that’s worlds deeper than your average horror flick (it’s an International Critics’ Week selection here at Cannes). Directed with verve by Juan Antonio Bayona and produced by Guillermo del Toro, "The Orphanage" is a sort of companion piece with "Pan’s Labyrinth"; it’s a magic realist story about the intersection between a child’s imagination and the real world. Laura (Belén Rueda) and Carlos (Fernando Cayo) are the adoptive parents of Simon (Roger Príncep), an orphan suffering from HIV. They live in a house that was once the orphanage where Laura grew up. Simon has a host of imaginary friends, which is only a passing concern to Laura and Carlos — until some of the things he says about his friends start to sound increasingly vivid and sinister. Simon goes missing, and as Laura frantically searches for him, she learns more about the grievous history of the house, which includes the mysterious deaths of five orphans, she becomes convinced the only way to find her son is to tap into the orphanage’s paranormal aura. Oozing atmospheric dread, and featuring achingly real characters, "The Orphanage" is the best kind of psychological horror film — one that doesn’t telegraph its scares but maintains a bewitching mood of tension throughout. This is a movie for which the term "cult favorite" was coined. The film received a five-minute standing ovation, during which del Toro hoisted the diminutive Bayona on his shoulders.


"The Orphanage"

The other notable screening Monday was Michael Winterbottom‘s "A Mighty Heart," starring Angelina Jolie as Mariane Pearl, the wife of slain Wall Street Journal repoter Daniel Pearl, which got strong notices from the Hollywood Reporter and Variety.

Tomorrow, four films in competition for the Palme d’Or will be screening. Check back for more of RT’s coverage from the Cannes Film Festival.

Tag Cloud

mutant National Geographic 2015 justice league finale ESPN Stephen King a nightmare on elm street Opinion supernatural video Fall TV Columbia Pictures crime ABC WGN elevated horror award winner war Shondaland game show richard e. Grant Apple TV Plus satire 2016 psycho spain Emmy Nominations CBS All Access MTV comiccon YA GLAAD werewolf MCU Nat Geo Summer unscripted Family joker Heroines green book twilight Discovery Channel Chernobyl animated Universal Tarantino canceled Animation Rom-Com Crackle critics Netflix Christmas movies sitcom Arrowverse zero dark thirty Music anthology Infographic south america Holidays screenings Mudbound ratings VICE breaking bad The Witch halloween Mary Tyler Moore DC streaming service cults Captain marvel asian-american mission: impossible Reality christmas movies teaser Winter TV TCA 2017 New York Comic Con boxoffice Action TCA dramedy 45 vampires 2020 American Society of Cinematographers Comedy Song of Ice and Fire Horror cancelled TV series SXSW TIFF biography Box Office FXX Awards Walt Disney Pictures Premiere Dates dogs composers aliens Sundance Now The Walking Dead Turner Paramount Network AMC comic Classic Film casting San Diego Comic-Con CNN universal monsters spanish language Nickelodeon 4/20 Disney streaming service Turner Classic Movies cars Podcast thriller Kids & Family Election RT History TNT Biopics A24 psychological thriller Winners movie YouTube Red indiana jones hist Disney Film Festival Mary poppins facebook CBS Lucasfilm Trailer A&E Set visit Syfy spinoff romantic comedy what to watch transformers reboot TV medical drama doctor who Vudu Adult Swim Tomatazos foreign anime Hear Us Out Mary Poppins Returns nature Rock natural history Rocky Drama book travel Teen Fantasy witnail Schedule harry potter Spike Mindy Kaling Showtime Creative Arts Emmys scary movies screen actors guild Marvel Studios VOD Marvel series documentary documentaries DirecTV docudrama Musical historical drama BBC History based on movie stand-up comedy politics Black Mirror ABC Family best 007 SDCC Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Pop rotten movies we love stoner Hallmark cats Sony Pictures die hard 2018 Apple franchise HBO sequel Pet Sematary NBC television Logo Writers Guild of America tv talk Marvel Television Cosplay Shudder BBC One Rocketman Black History Month First Reviews canceled TV shows Endgame TCA Winter 2020 Anna Paquin IFC PlayStation strong female leads Pirates Super Bowl PBS RT21 LGBT cancelled television Epix diversity police drama HBO Go TV renewals TruTV comics technology Apple TV+ MSNBC Polls and Games FOX The Arrangement Marathons Musicals Freeform Toys Amazon Prime Trivia slashers FX Calendar Warner Bros. 71st Emmy Awards Women's History Month TBS Television Academy CMT science fiction Fox News TCM Amazon Prime Video BAFTA disaster Oscars PaleyFest Holiday Extras WarnerMedia Watching Series child's play Comedy Central Tubi Cartoon Network Pixar Sundance TV independent indie Disney Plus singing competition GIFs Lifetime TV Land binge Trophy Talk sag awards parents Starz revenge talk show political drama Country Interview DC Comics 2019 Mystery E3 Film Grammys Year in Review quibi Tumblr Esquire adventure Sundance comedies The CW zombies Valentine's Day cops Dark Horse Comics Amazon Disney Channel Ellie Kemper Hulu miniseries cancelled TV shows El Rey Brie Larson spy thriller FX on Hulu ITV Ovation Peacock First Look chucky President social media TLC concert films Emmys 24 frames DC Universe Spring TV Netflix X-Men Awards Tour Lifetime Christmas movies Thanksgiving Superheroe USA Superheroes Western Amazon Studios criterion batman discovery Acorn TV Avengers IFC Films movies Academy Awards zombie cancelled Video Games serial killer Disney+ Disney Plus The Purge video on demand HBO Max YouTube Quiz 2017 renewed TV shows period drama 21st Century Fox dark BET Awards festivals APB Lionsgate E! Reality Competition latino DGA cartoon OneApp crime thriller name the review Funimation space OWN Pop TV cooking Hallmark Christmas movies Spectrum Originals Comics on TV Martial Arts Ghostbusters CW Seed toy story robots blockbuster 20th Century Fox free movies adaptation mockumentary game of thrones Red Carpet Comic Book streaming Countdown theme song GoT Nominations Certified Fresh dceu LGBTQ Britbox kids crossover golden globes children's TV Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt VH1 Paramount Cannes YouTube Premium Masterpiece versus Baby Yoda Christmas See It Skip It Food Network Binge Guide cinemax spider-man USA Network reviews Pride Month romance Sneak Peek dc Photos Elton John jamie lee curtis Star Trek blaxploitation Bravo Character Guide directors Star Wars dragons news SundanceTV Travel Channel NYCC crime drama Best and Worst hispanic all-time sports BBC America true crime ghosts Sci-Fi BET Crunchyroll