In recent years David Gordon Green has been turning his hand to more studio friendly (but not necessarily box office friendly) fare, such as Pineapple Express and Your Highness.
So this year's Prince Avalanche, a hilariously heartbreaking piece on loneliness and being alone, is a welcome return to the indie scene for the director of All The Real Girls.
Starring Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch, Prince Avalanche is set during the late 1980s in the heart of Texas, and follows Rudd's Alvin, a man who spends his time working in the remains of a Texan forest following a devastating forest fire.
Alvin has hired his girlfriend's brother Lance, played by Hirsch, as a favour for the family and the two of them spend their days painting yellow lines and arguing over the cassette tape, working together on manual tasks, and living a lonely existence.
If it sounds boring, it isn't.
Green has used his small cast smartly, (the only other two characters we meet are a truck driver who occasionally stops to give the two men alcohol and, in a slightly confusing plot turn, an old lady whose house was burnt down and now spends her time rummaging through the wreckage but whom no-one can see except Lance and Alvin), making the most of his two actors who take the script and thread together scenes which find the comedy in heartbreak.
Hirsch, a staple of the indie scene in recent years, has made a meaningful addition to his resume with this film. A smart performance, Hirsch's Lance is half oddball idiot and half wise guy, constantly misunderstood and yet remaining throughout the film an immature young man.
But Rudd is the standout here, showcasing his comedic talents yet never allowing that to overshadow the truth of Alvin, that he is a broken, confused man who has lost his connections in the process of trying to find peace.
An adaptation of a recent Icelandic film (as recent as 2011, in fact), the production itself was kept unannounced until the crew had completed work on the film.
Green worked with several long-time collaborators on Prince Avalance, and Director of Photography Tim Orr has created a lush film full of muted greens and browns and blues, interspersed with the constant yellow of the painted lines. Cutaway shots to the nature surrounding Alvin and Lance – caterpillars, tortoises, skunks, and the endless landscape of burnt trees – create a very immersive, particular atmosphere.
Friday Night Lights fans will appreciate the score created by Explosions in the Sky and Wingo,which blends beautifully, never overpowering the scenes.
This is definitely a quirky indie number but shows a return to form for Green, weaving together total heartbreak and riotous laughter.
Prince Avalanche is released in UK cinemas this Friday, October 18th.