it’s been a fortnight of meditative cinema – the monks of ‘into great silence’, jack nicholson’s ambivalent journalist at the heart of ‘the passenger’, and now the unexpected glories of ‘old joy’ – a film apparently based on a book of still photographs. two guys who used to be roommates go on a short road trip, lie down in a hot spring, talk a little, feel regret, and go home.
the sense of a once-meaningful friendship disappearing into the past is palpably evoked by the pitch-perfect central performances by daniel london and will oldham, the gentle photography that really takes its time, and the fact that pretty much all of us will be able to identify with the story from the inside.
it’s also one of the most subtly devastating critiques of the bush administration, and, more importantly, the lack of a substantive alternative offered from the left (and my generation specifically).
perhaps the only criticism i would make is that there is not enough of this film, but that, i guess is another way of saying that what is there is really rather wonderful.