Old Joy

Old Joy


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Two friends go camping in the woods over a weekend. They bring the dog.

Kurt (Will Oldham) rings Mark (Daniel London). Hey, you’re back, Mark says, implying that they haven’t seen each other for a while. Kurt suggests going to this great place in the Cascade Mountains. No people. Peace.

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“You can’t get real quiet anymore,” he says.

Kurt talks New Age-lite. He’s balding, bearded, honey blond, little and suffers from unfocused emotional issues, brought on by an unemployed state of mind, smoking weed and a history of failed relationships (probably).

Mark’s wife is pregnant with their first child.

“I have to run this past you,” he says.

“You’re going anyway, so what do you want me to say?” she says.

He goes anyway.

Kurt does all the talking, which can be annoying, because he’s a boring guy. Mark is boring, too, but in a passive way.

“There’s trees in the city and garbage in the forest. What’s the difference?” Kurt asks.

They are in Oregon. Kurt plays with Mark’s dog, because he wants Mark to like him. You can tell he’s needy. Mark tries not to notice. His wife rings on his cell and they service each other with everything’s-fine-I-love-yous.

They almost get lost – that’s exciting – but don’t. Kurt makes jokes that aren’t funny. Mark looks miserable. He must be thinking, why am I here?

“Having a kid is so fucking real,” Kurt says.

Mark doesn’t respond. Who would?

On the second day, they reach a place in the woods where hot water flows into wooden baths. They strip off. There is the hint of a Brokeback moment. Afterwards, they return to the car and drive home. A languid guitar solo plays over the soundtrack.

“The thing is, I have my own theory,” Kurt is saying.

The dog had a lousy time. You will, too.

Reviewed on: 25 Jan 2007
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Two friends go camping in Oregon. They take the dog. They have a hot bath in the woods. They come home.
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Director: Kelly Reichardt

Writer: Jonathan Raymond, Kelly Reichardt

Starring: Daniel London, Will Oldham, Tanya Smith, Robin Rosenberg, Keri Moran, Autumn Campbell, Steve Doughton, Matt McCormick, Darren Prolsen, Jillian Wieseneck

Year: 2006

Runtime: 76 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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