Old Joy (2006)
“One of the finest American films of the year”
When Mark (Daniel London) receives an invitation from his estranged buddy Kurt (Will Oldham), the two friends venture into the Oregon wilderness for a weekend camping trip. While Mark is preparing to settle down and have a baby, Kurt keeps free-wheeling through his 30s, incapable of accepting the duo’s waning relationship and the different paths their lives have taken. Under Kelly Riechardt’s direction, the road movie evolves into a richly textured view of contemporary masculinity, friendship and offers a broader view of contemporary America.
“I think a lot of them deal with questions of community and question who we are to each other, and what we owe each other,” Reichardt has said of her films.
Produced by Todd Haynes and co-written with novelist Jonathan Raymond (like her subsequent films), Old Joy came a decade after Riechardt’s debut, River of Grass, and defined her unique directorial style. From Oldham and London’s superb performances to the glorious imagery saturating the film and mesmerising soundtrack from Yo La Tengo, Old Joy is a poignant and memorable cinematic journey.