David Gordon Green’s latest tale of obscure male camaraderie proves that there is seldom a sight more brutal than Paul Rudd in tears. Widely hailed as the nicest guy in the business, Rudd has transformed from youthful, wholesome love interest into a sometimes silly, always agreeable comedic presence.
Known for mostly playing the down and out guy, his doughy face and inoffensive demeanour save Rudd from becoming tiresome, and Prince Avalanche makes no exception. Accompanied by at first a pretty transparent Emile Hirsch, Rudd’s Alvin is found trudging a wildfire beaten forest, indulging in a heightened state of soul searching masked as manual labour. A new father and failing partner, Alvin embraces his surroundings as a means of making things right, with Rudd imploring you to root for his success.
Without the Apatow wise cracks and whacky narratives the focus settles on Rudd as a more earnest leading man. A scene with his character helping an elderly woman forage through the remains of her home is incredibly warm, as is his pretend interpretation of an idyllic home, plodding down imaginary hallways to great his partner after a hard day at work.
As Alvin trails the forest on a strict moral compass Hirsch’s character evolves past a simple sexually charged youth to a troubled and discontented young man. His faith in Alvin even when they fight transcends any early doubts, and the founding of an initially unbelievable friendship is pleasing to behold.
Aesthetically Prince Avalanche is pretty wonderful. Originating from a minimalistic Icelandic film, Gordon Green brings life into Alvin and Lance’s luscious surroundings as he moves through trees and over rivers at a glacial speed. Accompanied by Explosion in the Sky’s vibrant score, the completed look is one of beauty, a quality that saves the film from its lack of chaos.
This is where Rudd’s persistent likeability is almost his undoing. Even when the hurdles come, your faith in Alvin is so cemented you know that he will come up roses when a little shaking up is exactly what this story needs.
This is far from a failure however; Rudd and Hirsch’s pairing under Gordon Green’s watchful eye is both sweet and sincere and with the most powerful scenes happening while the two are out of shot, a proper treat for the eyes.