Directed by Gus Van Sant
Running time: 103 minutes
With its minimal dialogue and simple, chilling premise, Gerry (2002), Gus Van Sant's ninth film, marks a return to his indie roots, exemplifying a more European style of filmmaking which is influenced, in particular, by the great Hungarian director Bela Tarr. Matt Damon and Casey Affleck play a couple of ordinary guys – both of whom, rather confusingly, seem to be called Gerry – who decide to go on a hike together into the desert. They drive to Death Valley, park the car and start walking along a path marked nature trail but soon get bored and stray off the beaten track, finding themselves completely lost without a map, food or water. Despite its simple parameters, Gerry is an intense film, played out with long takes and minimal dialogue against the unforgiving, bleak backdrop of the desert, a composite landscape comprising elements of the Argentinian plains, Death Valley and the salt flats of Utah. The dialogue was improvised by the cast along the way, and this lends the film an abstract, even dreamlike feel at times, despite the undercurrent of black humour which provides moments of comic relief. In fact, it soon becomes unclear if these two characters really exist or are instead some strange existential hallucinations of each other. (As well as being called 'Gerry', for example, the pair both use the term 'Gerry' as a way to denote the right way, the wrong way and a mistake or a fuck-up). Arguably one of the director's best films, Gerry provides a riveting companion piece to Elephant (2003), Van Sant's subsequent film about the Columbine massacre, as well as a welcome antidote to his earlier more commercially mainstream dramas Good Will Hunting (1997) and Finding Forrester (2000).
Reservation is not necessary, but places are limited. Please arrive early to avoid disappointment.