Sunday, August 14, 2005

Movie review: Vernon, Florida (two stars)

I watched Vernon, Florida today, and here was my Netflix review (I gave it two stars).

I am an Errol Morris fan. I like both his minimalistic films (Gates of Heaven) and his "self-indulgent" work (First Person), but I could not figure out what Morris was trying to do with this film. The purpose of this film seems to be: 1) go to a small town 2) find the weirdest inhabitants you can 3) film them. I couldn't see a greater purpose to the film, and, instead of laughing at the foibles of the film's subjects, I felt sad. Usually, I don't mind laughing at documentary subjects (American Movie), but this film seemed to have no greater point than to say, "Aren't these people WEIRD." I expected more from this documentary, but I guess there was a reason this was out of print for so long. However, having said all that, this film has the seeds of Morris's great later work: beautiful cinematography, cinema verite style interviewing techniques, quirky subject matter. But every subsequent Morris film is much better than this one. My recommendation? For Errol Morris fans only.


MC said...

Have you seen The Thin Blue Line? I believe it is his finest documentary. I saw Veron, Florida more than 10 years ago, so I don't remember it well-but I'll take your word for it.

Eric said...

I did see The Thin Blue Line. It was the first Morris documentary I ever saw. His odd visual style (carried through to even weirder effect on his First Person series)threw me off at first, but the story was compelling enough to enthrall me. TTBL is a great documentary, though for totally different reasons than Gates of Heaven.