By Admin | October 3, 2012

A man digs a grave in the middle of the woods before leaving, only to return in his truck with another man, who walks alone out to the gravesite, where he kills himself with a gun. Our gravedigger then heads out to the dead body and promptly rolls it into the grave, covering the body with dirt.

From there, Last Days in Waldo County consists of our gravedigger “hero” as he interacts with different people he knows, usually in the form of drinking, doing drugs or talking about whatever. He’s obviously scarred by the film’s earlier events, but he doesn’t let on very often, keeping a steady trajectory toward his own tragic resolution.

The official website for the film reveals that the film has been in production for roughly three years, and was once a documentary that evolved into what we see here. The hybrid narrative of documentary footage seamlessly blended in with more traditionally acted sequences definitely works within the flavor of the overall experimental narrative aesthetic. The question becomes whether or not any of it is actually all that interesting.

Despite the traditional narrative bookends that attempt to give at least one character an arc of some sort, the film is little more than folks drinking, doing drugs and talking, usually about football. I don’t doubt the reality of the situation, but there’s really not much going on that’s all that interesting to watch. Even our main character, while at least he has an inciting incident of sorts and an obvious resolution, doesn’t really do anything any different than anyone else. There’s no journey for anyone here; it’s more like being a fly on the wall in a really depressing room.

Still, to point out the positive, the edit does a wonderful job of blending the real and not-as-real footage together to the point where, had I not known about the documentary origins, I would’ve assumed it was all a traditional narrative with the more handheld, informal interview-esque footage as an aesthetic choice. I still would’ve come to the same conclusion regarding the story, that it wasn’t all that interesting, but I never would’ve thought that it was such a case of truly transformative filmmaking. In other words, the filmmakers have some serious skill and talent going for them, and now they just need a story.

This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.

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  1. James says:

    Christ, if I wanted to see Gummo in black and white I’d just adjust the color on my TV.

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