Over the course of one hot summer, a group of children in the rural south are forced to confront a tangle of difficult choices in a decaying world. An ambitiously constructed, sensuously photographed meditation on adolesce... more »nce, the first feature film by director David Gordon Green features breakout performances from an award-winning ensemble cast.« less
"David Gordon Green has created a lush, vibrant film showing not just immense potential, but genuine talent. Set in the deep south during the recession of the 1980's, GW captures the melancholy of childhood in a rarely (if never before) seen light. While obviously influenced by the great talent of Terrence Malick, Green's choice of cinematographer and talent demonstrate a fundamental understanding of film as a visual and sensory medium, and not a dumping ground for rehashed dialogue and filler about bad relationships with witty quips. Green throws aside the usual bad dialogue and poor camera work of most first time film makers, and finds language in imagery and visuals in dialogue. The exploration of heroism and simple responsibility are given appropriate weight, but with no small sense of the absurd (perhaps appropriate when dealing with the perspective of children). This is an excellent film, and should stoke the drive of all wannabe or potential first-time film-makers. The bar need not be set low just because of a constrained budget. Films can be made that are meaningful and well-shot without a $100K budget."
M. Boonstra | 02/16/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In one of the opening scenes of George Washington, a boy and a girl break up. There is not much else to this scene, which makes it like most breaks ups. It makes it like many of our experiences is childhood: they just happen. The movie George Washington, however, mixes such everyday happenings in a poor, rural/industrial landscape with a level of complexity that is suprising and revealing. The characters experience love, loss, friendship, joy, forgiveness, boredom, and a longing for something more. The characters like each other. Some are white, and most of them are black, but they are all friends. Every summer, kids all over the country experience the kinds of events that many kids experience, yet there is a tragedy that occurs in this movie that renders this story unique. Tragedy aside, George Washington is simply a beautiful and quiet film about one hot summer in the south and it's children."
A poignant landscape of a dusty, delapidated South
gummo_marx | 09/09/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this film at the Edinburgh Film Festival in 2000, and thought it one of the most original and haunting films I have seen in years. It is a very subjective, impressionistic and almost transcendental movie about a group of kids, and how they follow their own particular code of honour in the face of misfortune. Kind of like Harmony Korine but at an easier pace, and with more unity of vision."
The ghetto as a poem. A lingering portrait.
Joel Munyon | Joliet, Illinois - the poohole of America. | 01/24/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'd imagine that if Mark Twain, Robert Frost, or Walt Whitman were still alive, they might appreciate George Washington as a film personified through a poem. Maybe not, but something tells me that David Gordon Greer, the director/writer of this film, comes from the same mold as the aforementioned individuals.
In it, we have five young friends - four black, one white - living among the ruins of an impoverished, yet somehow beautiful, ghetto landscape. When one of them meets accidental disaster, the others are left to struggle with guilt. One of the ways they do is through escapism. For one of them, he envisions himself as a superhero who can read God's mind, thus enabling him the power to predict who will die and who will live. Meanwhile, two of his friends take a path of self-destruction while the third watches the climatic events unfold with stoic restlessness.
I was amazed at how well this film was made. The characters, particularly "George", seem almost ethereal. When I saw the film, it didn't feel like a fictional movie. It felt like some otherwordly documentary focused on a place that most of us would otherwise ignore at all costs. Truly, David G. Greer has captured something splendid here, and has managed to turn the "ghetto" into a place of childhood dreams, both realized and dreamt. One of the top three films I've seen this year.
4.5 out of 5.
Considerable Talent on Display Here
Wendell | Edmonston | 12/27/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I often find the 5 star rating system doesn't leave enough room for films that sit somewhere in between. I'm giving this three stars because it's not really up to the level of many films that I gave four stars to. On the other hand, I'm not saying I didn't like it or that I don't think the director has potential for greatness. The down side for me is that I don't think story satisfies as a story. I don't, at the end of it, know what it was about in terms of narrative theme, etc. I wish I could make more sense of that side of things.
On the other hand, the filmaking is great. The mood, characters and dialogue, the cinematography, the originality. I love it that it's a truly southern film. And a film starring young black actors in something that's not about race, crime or drugs? That's also a wonderful aspect of this film. It's a true original. Flawed in ways that merit note, but it's also a lot more worthy of our attention than most Hollywood fare. So this is one three star movie that I actually recommend highly - if original, independent filmaking is of interest to you."