Prince Avalanche is an English adaptation of a 2011 Iceland drama Either Way by Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson, and directed by director David Gordon Green. The film is about two bickering nitwits who become friends while doing their job of mending a damaged world – they paint yellow line dividers on a stretch of road ravaged by wildfires in 1987. The intentional Waiting for Godot echoes are Green’s early acknowledgement that no existential buddy comedy can exist without a little Samuel Beckett in its soul, even if the two leads are dressed in blue overalls and look and act like the Mario Brothers.
The burnt-out setting allows the stars Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch to commiserate and swap their lives and romantic failures, while still being symbolic of what the world needs to do to get to wholeness. Green keeps the film’s tone straddling the yellow line between desolation and exultation, allowing Rudd and Hirsch to act it out fully. It’s good to see David Gordon Green get back to his early indie spirit (George Washington, Snow Angels) and not his more current hipster self (Pineapple Express, Your Highness, The Sitter). From me, Prince Avalanche gets a B+.
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