Movie review: Brilliant cast elevates quaint folk fable in ‘Get Low’
With the bushy, hillbilly beard and gnarly attitude that Robert Duvall dons in “Get Low,” you might think he were a kissing cousin to ZZ Top, or at least a lesser member of the Soggy Bottom Boys from “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
His Felix Bush is, as they say in rural parts, a real piece of work. A Depression-era hermit who lives alone in a ramshackle, backwoods house not far from a small Tennessee hamlet, Felix chose long ago to keep civilization – and his neighbors – at bay.
The sign at his front gate reads: “No damn trespassing. Beware of mule.”
Surrounded by his mule, his trusty shotgun, a stock of mason jars filled with home-brewed herbal elixir and a faded photograph of a long lost love, Felix has lived a stubbornly monastic life that gradually achieved mythic proportions among the folks in town. There grew up such a thorny rash of wild rumors attributing black magic and evil deeds to this cantankerous old coot that Felix is now viewed by most townspeople with suspicion and dread. Which is mostly fine with Felix.
Until one day when he receives news of an old acquaintance’s death – delivered by a fearful preacher man (Gerald McRaney). This troubles Felix and sets him to thinking about settling up affairs, and so he gathers a wad of “hermit money” and heads into town with an idea.
Felix’s idea, which he puts to Frank Quinn (Bill Murray), the city-slicker owner of the town funeral parlor, is to stage his own funeral while he’s still around to partake in the festivities. Frank, always quick to make a buck, takes on the job and assigns his earnest young assistant Buddy (Lucas Black) to chauffeur Felix around and plan details of the event (which includes raffling off a tract of Felix’s land to attract a suitable number of mourners).
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