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A movie spun out of equal parts folk tale, fable and real-life legend about the mysterious, 1930s Tennessee hermit who famously threw his own rollicking funeral party... while he was still alive.
For more about Get Low and the Get Low Blu-ray release, see Get Low Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on February 12, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Bill Murray, Lucas Black, Gerald McRaney, Bill Cobbs
Director: Aaron Schneider
» See full cast & crew
Get Low Blu-ray Review
'Get Low' gets the Blu-ray treatment it deserves.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, February 12, 2011
He has a way of making people do what he wants.
What does man know about death? It's the great mystery, the one single fact of life for which there are answers but none of them sure things. What comes after besides the known quantities of the biological processes of the cessation of bodily functions and the resultant decomposition of the physical form? Anything else is out of the realm of the scientific community and left to spiritual guides and individual beliefs. People may see death as the end, as a new beginning, or as something in between, a changing of the guards, a transition of the soul to another plane of existence where what happened in this world may or may not matter in the next, if indeed there is a next. It's the ultimate question and one for which there may never be a firm answer that exists outside of faith, for even those with the most firm of religious guides and the most calming of spiritual peace can only trust in their faith, and the measure of faith is what sets apart the various hypotheses as to what really happens in death. Of course, there is another way to look at death, and that is through the prism of life. What does it mean for what man leaves behind? Not his body but his offspring, his family, his memories, and his legacy? Death is the ultimate "cutting off" point; insofar as man understands death from both scientific and spiritual angles, it is the demarcation line where earthly proclamations of love and faith, forgiveness of past misdeeds, or the knowledge and certainty of what's being left behind cease to matter in the physical here-and-now. Unfortunately, man's basic understanding of death is limited to the physical body, so death represents the end of the opportunity to make amends, set the record straight, ease a burden, or cleanse a troubled soul while still in the world of human understanding and consciousness. Get Low is a fantastic film of complex narratives and characters that focuses on a man who chooses to purge his mind and body of his darkest secrets before he succumbs to death and loses the opportunity to deal with in life what may very well be that which allows him to rest more easily in death. A serious picture occasionally in the guise of more lighthearted fare, Get Low proves to be a fascinating journey into the mind of a man who chooses to use death to ease a burden and earn a new lease on life, however short-lived as that lease and life may be.
Everyone has heard stories about that crazy old hermit who lives out on 300 acres outside of town. Felix Bush (Robert Duvall, Deep Impact) has heard them, too -- some of them, anyway -- and he wants to hear them all before he finally sets the record straight. Forty years of solitude have led Bush to believe that the only way to right his past wrongs is to declare his life story for all to hear before he dies; for an old country hermit in 1930s America, that means putting on a party -- a funeral party -- and inviting over, with incentive, anyone and everyone who has a story to share about him. His odd request is fumbled by the local church, but a funeral home assistant named Buddy Robinson (Lucas Black, Sling Blade) overhears Bush's wishes and sees him with a wad of cash in hand. His money might be the very thing to get the local funeral business back in the black, and idea that tickles the fancy of owner Frank Quinn (Bill Murray, Groundhog Day). Word of the unique party quickly spreads -- print and airwaves alike are abuzz with the news -- and local Mattie Darrow (Sissy Spacek, Carrie) is surprised to see a ghost from her past back in the headlines. As the party draws near, Bush must come to terms with what is to be the beginning of the end of his life while building up the courage to stand up and say what needs to be said for his own sake and for that of those who care enough about him to come to his party for other than their chance at winning a profitable jackpot.
A yarn of incredible depth and honesty, Get Low is an amazing and entrancing picture that's both soulful and funny, a movie that's melodic and melancholic but also breezy and beautiful. It's superbly cast, smartly written, and beautifully filmed. It's a fantastic Drama in the truest sense of the genre, getting to the core of what it means to be alive through the prism of death. It's a movie about a troubled life, a future that's certain yet not done evolving, and a past that's both difficult and regrettable. It's the life a man thought of as a "crazy old nutter" who is something of a local black sheep, the main player in many a tale that are tall but not quite true, a man with a secret past and a never-ending self-inflicted retribution, but that's only part of the story. Get Low is a decidedly serious Drama in the guise of lighter fare, a movie that has fun with its time and place and players but never loses sight of its center, that being the sad but unfinished story of a man whose life has gone wayward, who bears the burden of shame and revulsion and around whom there exists a perception that he's nothing but a "crazy old nutter' when in fact he's anything but. Behind the make-believe tales of a crazy old hermit is a man with a burden, a past that's gotten the best of him, living with a hole in his heart and an emptiness in his soul that neither time nor isolation have been able to heal. Only the truth -- the spoken, uncensored, and remorseful truth -- he thinks, can set him free, but will people really care about his story? Does life outside the personal bubble of individuality and family matter to those who see in Felix Bush only an easy joke? Does the life and times of a recluse who doesn't take kindly to trespassers and who is best known as the punchline to several jokes across a handful of counties matter when he's not throwing the ultimate funeral party for everyone who's heard the stories but have never come to know the man? Ultimately, it doesn't matter; Bush is his own man putting in motion a plan to have his confession heard, and whether the assembled crowd will care matters not. What matters is the cleansing of Bush's conscience, but for a man of his past and present, he needs more than a simple request to get the word out about his life and to as many people as his battered soul tells him need to hear it before it's time for him to really get low.
Get Low manages to pack in quite a bit of emotional balance and thematic relevance thanks to a profoundly honest story and a character roster that audiences will come to adore. The story's relevance and the way it manages to bridge the gap between life and death -- to settle in life what cannot be completed in death -- is fascinating but not completely original; what makes Get Low so great, then, is the character interaction and writing. This is an amazingly-scripted picture that manages to paint its characters as both colorful and serious; there's an unmistakable lightness to the movie that serves as a counterbalanced so that it's not completely dominated by the heavy themes and complex characters that populate it. Robert Duvall is spectacular in the lead role, playing a character who may be seen all at once as a tender old man with a troubled soul, a crazy hermit, and certainly a man "worthy" of the labels others have assigned to him and the tall tales he's purported to have played a part in. Duvall understands the character perfectly; he commands every scene with a performance that reflects the character's genuine demeanor while also keeping his secrets and past close to the vest. The character unfolds with the story and Duvall's performance remains steady and spot-on throughout, punctuated by two simple words, "I am," when asked of how he is. A simple response but one that summarizes the meaning of his life so well; words that reflect a troubled and burdened man who may exist physically but has all but died emotionally. Murray, Black, and Spacek are also wonderful; Murray's part is a little more toned down than audiences might expect while Black's role is the greater of the two, but the balance Black brings with not just his youthful looks but the way he interacts with Duval and counterbalances his character is one of the film's greatest assets. It doesn't hurt either character or any of the main players that the script is genuine and with a natural balance and flow; the film's ability to play as both inherently serious and a bit lighthearted along the way is certainly an asset, but its handling of the characters, their slow and steady development, and masterful use of dialogue set this script apart from most others.
Get Low Blu-ray, Video Quality
Get Low features a flawless 1080p transfer from Sony. There are a few soft backgrounds scattered around the movie that do stand out, but such is the film and not a fault of the Blu-ray. Detail is exemplary; whether fallen leaves and tree bark around Bush's secluded home or the texture of period costumes and human faces, Get Low will dazzle with its natural, film-like detailing. Colors are exquisite, too; the film isn't too terribly bright by its very nature; there's nothing flashy here, it's all very conservative, but the transfer handles the natural browns, grays, and greens like a champion. Better still, black levels are marvelous, yielding pristine shadow detail throughout the film. Flesh tones, too, never stray from a natural shade. The image is crystal clear with nary a speckle to be seen, and grain is present but incredibly light. That's all she wrote for this one; it's simply a masterpiece transfer and a perfect example of how a more laid back, less-is-more sort of image can look downright fantastic on Blu-ray.
Get Low Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Get Low's DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack doesn't match its video transfer in terms of sheer perfection, but it's still a serviceable-to-solid listen that brings a few flaws to the table but generally delivers a clean and accurate listen. The film opens by combining fairly robust orchestral music that favors a slight low in conjunction with the subtle rumblings of a fire; the combination is fantastic with the bass working hard but not overexerting itself, instead delivering a serious, well-defined, and potent low end. Music is generally smooth and accurate; the downhome Bluegrass score is carried nicely by the front channels and plays with an airy, natural quality. Atmospherics are superb, too; the many outdoors scenes offer slight but critical nuanced ambience, such as rustling leaves and chirping birds, that tie together various scenes and help place the listener in the middle of the action. Heavier effects, such as the aforementioned fire, heavy falling rain, or various gunshots all play with a perfect amount of space, the latter nicely reverberating through the listening area with every pull of the trigger. Unfortunately, dialogue can be a little unbalanced or harsh at a few junctures; a scene featuring Felix Bush in a church in chapter two seems to favor an unnatural amount of heft at the low end, as does the scene that sees Frank and Buddy outside Bush's house for the first time. Otherwise, the track is fine all around; there are certainly a few moments when the track draws attention to itself, but this is generally a relaxed track that favors dialogue above all else.
Get Low Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Get Low arrives on Blu-ray with a good array of extra content, the collection headlined by a quality multiparticipant audio commentary track.
Get Low Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Get Low is a wonderful character study, a movie that's a little odd at its center but one that is nevertheless genuinely moving, wonderfully played, smartly written, effortlessly directed, and completely gripping from beginning to end. The film plays with ideas and themes that might not be original -- death and redemption -- but it does approach them from a fresh and unique perspective, and a stellar screenplay and even better acting make this a positively wonderful film full of honest drama and a sprinkling of lighthearted levity to balance it into a modern masterpiece of a bygone era. Sony's Blu-ray release of Get Low is up to the task of presenting this great film in the finest way possible. A top-notch technical presentation and a good assortment of extra content along with a wonderful movie make adding Get Low to the Blu-ray collection a no-brainer. Highly recommended.
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Get Low Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Get Low Blu-ray Announced - December 13, 2010
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced Get Low for Blu-ray release on February 22, 2011. This independent drama, based on a true story, stars Robert Duvall as a Tennessee recluse who planned his own funeral while he was still alive so he could enjoy it. ...
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