Of Van Sant’s recent 4 films, this is the only one that didn’t do it for me. Try as I might, I couldn’t reconcile the setting with the characters. Halfway through the film, I realized that I was exhausting myself trying to love what just wasn’t working for me. The main character just didn’t have the manic spark that I would expect of a jilted rock musician. He seemed pretty tepid – all depression and social avoidance with little else to balance out his character. He mumbled a lot to himself in a pretty passionless way. Less a cornered animal than a bored kid. His walk through the forest in the beginning didn’t prepare me for a character in the depths of despair or a character with any desire or motivations that would have made him interesting.
The youngish crowd hanging out in the house seemed to be drawn to the main character for his fame and money more than anything else, which might be expected, but I had no idea who these people were. Were they band members? Groupies? I had no sense of them, and so, I had no sense of the social world that the main character was drifting from or avoiding.