Today: July 17, 2024

Leaves Of Grass

Edward Norton does a double
act that makes for entertaining viewing in an otherwise muddled film.

Edward Norton flits in and out of cinema
like a hard to catch butterfly. One minute he’s dazzling us in films like Fight Club (1999) and American History X (1998) the next he is
phoning it in for films like The Italian
Job
(2003). Irrelevant of the films he commits to he is always a joy to
behold. So imagine the delight that in
Leaves Of Grass you get two Nortons for the price of one.

Bill
Kincaid (Norton) is a successful professor at Brown University. When news comes
that his twin brother Brady (Norton) has been murdered he heads home to
Oklahoma only to discover Brady alive and needing Bill to pretend to be him in
order to secure him an alibi while he conducts a drug deal.

Less
Walt Whitman and more whacky backy, Leaves Of Grass obviously draws influence
from The Coen Brothers in its
depiction of eccentric characters and ludicrous situations. Director Tim Blake
Nelson, who appeared in The Coen’s O Brother, Where Art Thou (2000), fails to
find a balance between the comedy and the crime caper. On the one hand it is a joy to watch Norton spar with himself as the
twins but then the film dips into a violent thriller that contradicts the light
tone
.

Norton
manages to give the two brothers enough characteristics that you never confuse
the two, but he is not given the material to match Nicolas Cage’s one-two-whammy of Adaptation (2002). Still he holds a flimsy premise together as the
script jumps from one event to the next with out much cohesion.

Anxious to be The Coen
Brothers but comes off as more of a cheap Farrely Brothers trick, Leaves Of
Grass is euphoric with Norton and just plain stoned with tone and story
. Smoke em if you’ve got em.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com

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