Paranoid Park” stars Gabe Nevins, Daniel Liu, and many other first time actors. It’s written and directed by Gus Van Saint (Good Will Hunting, Elephant) and is based on a novel written by Blake Nelson.
A teenage skater named Alex (Gabe Nevins) becomes the suspect of the possible murder of a late night security guard patrolling an area near the train tracks. A detective named Richard Lu (Daniel Liu) visits the school known for multiple skaters who hang out at the famous skate park known as Paranoid Park. His reason being that the murder weapon was a skateboard and occurred near this famous skater hang-out.
“Paranoid Park” is an independent flick shot with style and grace. A subtle thriller featuring Gabe Nevins’ debut as an actor and this role just might boost his way to stardom. He gives a spectacular performance as a loner who finds himself in the most disturbing of situations. Not only does Gabe Nevins nails his character, but just about every actor portrayed in the film appeared natural on camera. It’s amazing how confident all of these first time actors (composed primarily of young teens) are. Some of this credit goes towards veteran director Gus Van Saint for prying out these fresh performances, but most of the credit goes to the actors themselves for being so casual during filming.
This is an atmospherically dark and thought-provoking entry into the film noir genre. The excessive use of slow-motion is common in independent flicks. Gus Van Saint takes full advantage of this using ultra slow-motion every chance he gets, eventually overusing it at times. This is a film full of gritty style, even using an unfocused camera at times adding a hazy effect. It has a very modest pace to it that neither hurts the film nor does it really help. The script was sharp and intelligently written.
My only real problem with this film is the ending. It doesn’t quite answer important questions and leaves a dry feeling. An odd selection of music was used in appropriate moments and the direction was done with fashion. This is a well made sleeper that with its subtle approach is gripping, and most of all unsettling. Anyone who is looking for a film with first time acting at its best, distinctive style and a pneumatic ring to it, “Paranoid Park” has that and much more.