My Own Private Idaho

My Own Private Idaho ★★★★½

(1) A shot of a tree; outlined by a doorway, held back by a corridor, bordered by the back of Keanu Reeves' body.

(2) The way River Phoenix acts. Mostly just the way River Phoenix looks. Mostly just River Phoenix.

(3) The editing every time someone slows down their speech long enough to breathe.

(4) The editing every time someone speaks incredibly, insanely fast.

(5) The way Van Sant alters his camera to develop as the narrative does - this is the film Lars Von Trier wanted to make with The Idiots and halfway-achieved (mid-point massive sex-driven sequence, both are films of falsehoods, both are films of innocence and both are (indirectly) about America).

(6) The way firelight flickers off Phoenix's face, illuminating the middleground of nighttime - an in-between place, caught somewhere halfway because it feels like we're finally allowed to see once things aren't so defined.

(7) Humanity feels relatable for once. It's a good feeling.

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