Manslaughter on the Oregon Express
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Published in: July-August 2008 issue.


Paranoid ParkParanoid Park
Directed by Gus Van Sant
MK2 Productions
Meno Films
Centre National de la


IN AS MUCH AS the teenage boy at the heart of Gus Van Sant’s new film has nothing funny or articulate to say, Paranoid Park may become this year’s anti-Juno. Lacking the sharp tongue of Juno MacGuff (America’s favorite teenage mom), Van Sant’s Alex keeps a low profile as he skates between his broken home and high school, between his girlfriend Jennifer’s house and the teen-infested skating parks of Portland, Oregon. Jennifer tends to ambush Alex at his locker to complain that he spends too much time with his buddy Jared and too little time with her. Later, he’s dared by another skater (also in search of the perfect half-pipe) to step inside the much mythologized “Paranoid Park.” Van Sant, showing his Pasolini-esque fascination with the urban underbelly, steers Alex swiftly toward the dark side once he gets Paranoid on his mind.

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