"There's something kind of magical about Prince Avalanche"

There's something kind of magical about Prince Avalanche, that is to say it's not quite the film you might expect from the director of films like Pineapple Express, The Sitter and Your Highness... the kind of films that exist in a post Apatow landscape, irreverent, childish and packed to the gills with enough dick and fart jokes to keep South Park running for another three series. However Prince Avalanche is not that kind of film, scratch away the buddy comedy surface and you'll find something quite special tucked away underneath, a film that will warm the very heart and soul.

Prince Avalance, although based on an Icelandic film, is set against the real life backdrop of the horrific Bastrop County wildfire in Texas, the worst in recorded history. Clearly not wanting to give the film too much context the story is set in 1987 and tells the story of Alvin and Lance, a pair of road painters whose mission it is to make their way across miles of untouched tarmac and paint on the lane dividers.

A film about road painters you say? Agreed it doesn't sound like the most enthralling plot to a summer movie,  but give it a chance because this film turns out to be something so much more. Credit must surely go to the two protagonists in this story, Alvin played by the always brilliant Paul Rudd as the stern, self satisfied boss who loves his job, and Lance, played by the hugely enjoyable Emile Hirsch as the carefree layabout employee whose only goal is to get his "little man squeezed" as he so eloquently puts it. On top of this, Alvin is dating Lance's sister Madison and spends his time writing her letters and learning German for their eventual reunion while Lance is simply living for the weekend, going about his daily chores with a skip in his step and irritating the hell out of Alvin.

However the film shifts gear when the weekend comes to a close, Alvin has once again spent another weekend happily alone, rejoicing in the elements of nature and the simple pleasures of fishing and pitching a tent with regimented precision. Lance on the other hand returns a broken man, hiding beneath a pair of aviators and a purchased lab coat.

From here on Prince Avalanche transforms into something akin to theatre, a tragicomedy brought to life by these two characters interacting and reacting and it's an absolute joy to see the drama unfold. There is a certain clichéd element to the piece whereby these two disparate characters, who initially grate upon one another ultimately find some connection and learn something about themselves...but even if it is a cliché,  Rudd and Hirsch deliver these scenes with so much warmth, humanity, and humour, that it's by far the most satisfying part of this film. 

For the most part of Prince Avalanche, Alvin and Lance seem to exist on their own in this vast scorched landscape, but David Gordon Green throws in a couple of standout moments with other characters including a grizzled and evidently alcoholic truck driver, and also a woman who Alvin encounters rummaging through the remains of what must of been her house before the fire. The scene is incredibly poignant and distant from the rest of the film, almost highlighting the real life tragedy of the fire.

Combined with the sumptuous cinematography of Prince Avalanche, and a rousing score from Explosions in the Sky, the best thing about this film is that as you watch, it gradually creeps up on you and takes a hold of something deep within and you'll definitely leave feeling slightly happier and more optimistic about life and that can only be a good thing.