Overstuffed with ideas and formal inventions; inspirations that would fuel an entire movie are presented and discarded within moments. Never constrained by its conceits, Van Sant deploys Shakespearean iambic pentameter for an interlude in the film and then drops it, as if to say the Henry IV thing will never hem him into a gimmick. But it's not academic. River is saturated in pathos. This is a feeling, warm tragedy.
Want a tender, dreamy road movie about a narcoleptic hustler starring River Phoenix? How about a loudly emoted Portland remake of Chimes at Midnight starring Keanu Reeves? Well, tough, because you can't get one without the other. I'll admit I found most of the Shakespeare scenes painful, and I'll also admit that by the end they didn't bother me so much—so graceful is the place that this road sinks into the horizon.
2-3. I'm just gonna bury the lede here and say that the film's overall language (symbolic use of location, portraiture, animals, etc.) and River Pheonix's performance are the movie's huge saving graces. I pretty much could've done without Bob, his pack of street rats, and the Elizabethan language. On top of that, Keanu Reeves only seems to emote during the (offscreen) sex scenes. It could've been better.
My Own Private Idaho has meandering energy, a convoluted plot, sputtering characterizing, and ghostly-skeletal drama. It doesn't emote feelings, nor is it immersive, it's also quite self-conscious and stilted. Ultimately, My Own Private Idaho is strung together with long-talky scenes and unmotivated turning points, that all, lack emotional conviction. Most overrated film of both Phoenix and Van Sant?
My Own Private Idaho deserves 5 stars for the awe inspiring fact that Gus Van Sant seamlessly manages to weave poetic cinema and emotionally immersive narrative with characters defined by their over the top hammy shakespearean prose- without distracting from the film (though kenau is at his best when silently reflecting, rather than reciting shakespearean insults)
I watched this film for the first time in 1992 and it was a 'before and after moment. By far the best Van Sant film and River magnificent talent as its best, his performance is superb, 25 years on and I still get goosebumps every time I watch it. Like Keanu said, this is not a movie, its a FILM.
Got to admit that this was kind of a letdown... All the praise and good reviews made me expect something better. The plot is convoluted (places and people came and went in a messy way) the chemistry between Reeves and Phoenix was barely none (probably because Scott was such and shitty character and Mickey was doing all the emotional work) and the overall vibe is that it had potential but Van Sant couldn't deliver it.
(...)Mike sucht nach Liebe, doch wenn er ehrlich ist, braucht er jemanden, der ihm Schutz bietet, der ihn hält. Grosse mentale Schäden erlitt er während seiner Kindheit, nun sucht er nach einer Obhut - ganz gleich, ob bei einem Mann oder einer Frau. Einen klassischen Hollywood Plot bekommen wir dabei nicht geboten. Der Film treibt - genauso wie das Leben der Beiden auf keinen festen Punkt zu.