I saw Gus Van Sant's Last Days
last night. It's pretty brilliant and moving, beautifully made, and, except, maybe, for Look At Me
, my favorite film of the year so far. There's a sequence towards the end of the film, where Blake (Michael Pitt) is alone in the shed behind his decaying mansion. His hangers-on are leaving the mansion and one (Lukas Haas) spots him inside the shed, from a distance. Blake is now out of focus, seemingly dressed in all red. It's obvious that Haas knows he should go over there, check in on his friend, see what's what. But, at the same time, he's afraid to or apathetic about it all, considering the inability to communicate with Blake these last few days, with him becoming little more than a mumbling, listless mess. And he goes off, never having checked in.
This sequence brings it all together for me. Watching from afar, it's all fuzzy and a little bit scary and we only know so much about what really is going on in there, in the head of the man inside that room. We may think we know more, but we only know so much. It's at once dreamy, gazing at this mythic figure (fame in conjuction with importance to the individual) and wondering what he's doing in there, wishing to know or be a part of it, his life. But, at the same time, being so frightened by this image, thoughts of pain and death and madness making the warmth of the car, and the comfort of driving away from this scene, all the more enticing. One image can mean everything and, here, it brings everything together, all the pieces that Van Sant is putting together: the corruption of the free, natural world that Blake wishes to run to (he sings "Home on the Range" with aching desperation) with his heroin buried in the earth and the trains/airplanes disturbing his Jeremiah Johnson
-like sojourn through the woods, the search for something, anything, to connect with, aside from the solitary, emotional purge afforded by his music (there are two really incredible musical moments in the film), Kim Gordon's recitation of her "rock n roll cliche" speech that she seems to have given a hundred times and that Blake gets but can't seem to do much of anything about, the desperation to connect/inability to connect arc, by way of Boyz II Men, Mormon missionaries, visits from confused salesmen asking him how his "business" is going and how many "customers" he's added in the last year, phone calls from managers and bandmates and his wife, and the Velvet Underground, which are at once disaparate but all interconnected. I think I'm rambling now. It's really fantastic. I highly recommend it.