THE GUATEMALAN HANDSHAKE Image

THE GUATEMALAN HANDSHAKE

By admin | November 21, 2006

This quirky little tale of lost love, demolition derbies, electric cars, a sick turtle, a missing dog and a power outage will not appeal to everyone. In fact, those who like their narratives to be linear and obvious will least appreciate this oddly touching movie, though if they gave it a shot they just might find that it grows on them after a while… like an interesting, colorful fungus.

When Don (Will Oldham) disappears, Sadie (Sheila Scullin) does nothing but pine. DonÕs her rock, sort of, and her last memory of him involves her throwing his ill turtle into the wilderness where it will surely meet its doom. Luckily, the perpetual loser Stool (Rich Schreiber) is there to comfort her and fill the void left by Don. Meanwhile, the almost silent Turkeylegs (Katy Haywood) takes in all the drama as a demolition derby (which will feature the driving skills of none other than Sadie) nears.

There will be people who say this film tries too hard to be weird, and there are places where that would be a valid criticism. Regardless, this is still an entertaining and visually exciting film. It has an oddly meandering pace that is riddled with quirky characters in weird situations. The entire project actually has the feel of “Napoleon Dynamite” as if remade by David Lynch, only without all the horrific elements he likes to toss into his work (there are no disembodied ears here, or dancing little people, but there are kids with weird illnesses and some creepy foreign guy who is too masculine for his own good). Writer/director Todd Rohal put a lot of love into this baby, and it shows. It’s too bad that some people won’t appreciate his efforts, though, but that’s always the case with any kind of art worth creating.

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