Leaves of Grass Reviews
The movie bubbles with intellectual curiosity and narrative ambition. And for that I dig it, even if Leaves of Grass has the habit of swerving and sometimes lurching from tone to tone.
Tim Blake Nelson's Leaves of Grass is some kind of sweet, wacky masterpiece. It takes all sorts of risks, including a dual role with Edward Norton playing twin brothers, and it pulls them off.
One Edward Norton performance is often enough reason to see a movie, so it comes as no surprise that the prospect of two -- he plays twins -- is very much the main attraction, and reward, of Leaves of Grass.
Essentially Deliverance cross-bred with A History of Violence...Leaves of Grass is a peculiar rural yarn and a sweet, assured examination of lost innocence and brotherhood that succeeds largely because of Norton's multi-faceted performance.
The DVD extras give the film a boost with a well done "making-of?" featurette and a commentary of the film by director Nelson, star Norton and producer William Migliore.
It's a jarringly realistic hybrid that echoes the more surreal aspects of real, rural life, and Norton walks/ambles through it all, sporting dueling personalities and distinct accents, but one very serious heart.
Many cliches in uneven and odd mix of guffaws and philosophical analysis. . .[C]onsiderable violence surprisingly erupts...[M]ost fun is watching Norton interact with Norton.
Suffice to say that Blake Nelson doesn't have the visual gifts of his Minnesotan mentors, leaving us undistracted by surface flair and fully focused on his cartoonish characters and ragged, oddly callow script.