HollywoodChicago.com RSS   Facebook   HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter   Free Giveaway E-mail   

Blu-ray Review: ‘George Washington’ Re-Release Recalls Introduction of Great Director

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
Average: 5 (1 vote)

CHICAGO – Before “Snow Angels”, “Prince Avalanche”, or even “The Sitter”, director David Gordon Green flexed his film school muscles in his unabashed inauguration, “George Washington”. Eying its body, the 2000 film shares qualities other first-timers huff when trying to be taken seriously by the arthouse crowd. Especially with the films that were assuredly motivated by Green’s work like 2012’s “Beasts of the Southern Wild”, “George Washington” celebrates storytelling instruments like whimsical young voiceover, shots that are equally distinct & questionable, and the raw potential of non-actors. With crime becoming a famous trend for first-time directors hungry for authorship, (Tarantino, Anderson, R. Johnson, Malle, and Godard among others), Green chose the other option, to make an obscure film where the story is background to a thickly atmospheric foreground. (Oddly enough, Malick did both).

HollywoodChicago.com DVD rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

But what makes “George Washington” more exceptional than its comparisons is its soul, which can be seen past his more blatant exercises of pretension. North Carolina School of the Arts grad Green gives a great scope to the same state’s destroyed landscapes that are clearly very close to his heart. This heart is shown in various shades with “George Washington’s” story, which might move slowly but doesn’t allow the ease of stopping. When taking the film for its narrative, Green shows a striking storytelling sense, advancing the film beyond its initial meditative qualities. As well, he handles the huge concepts of race with thoughtfulness, showing human beings able to interact without their skin colors or age defining them.

Most of all, Green expresses a bleeding love for his content with his camera, which guarantees the promise of his eye as a bonaide filmmaker. Thankfully, this pristine transfer ensures his striking use of color and regular daylight, celebrating Green’s intentions of showing the detailed beauty of places lost to time. The film’s images are ready for art gallerys, but with this Blu-ray transfer a home viewing could achieve the same justice.

Keeping up with the finest Criterion releases, this Blu-ray/DVD provides a full background for “George Washington” with its extras. Specifically, a 2001 Charlie Rose interview with a young Green provides historical perspective as to how different “George Washington” was during the time of its release, and also the brimming levels of its inspiration.

A feast of pure imagery, “George Washington” is a cinematographer’s film as much as it is a director’s project. With the help of his cinematographer Tim Orr (credited unusually in the same frame as Green’s writer/director title), “George Washington” is a stunning piece. Though others may have been inspired by its achievements, this film finds a singular beauty in the discovery of Americana’s artifacts.

George Washington was released on Blu-ray on March 11, 2014
"George Washington was released on Blu-ray on March 11, 2014
Photo credit: Courtesy of The Criterion Collection

A group of kids in North Carolina wander the wreckage of their community. When the children are involved in a tragedy, they are confronted with how they will face the rest of their lives.

Special Features:
o Audio commentary by director David Gordon Green, cinematographer Tim Orr, and actor Paul Schneider
o Deleted Scene with commentary by Green, Orr, and Schneider
o Two student shorts by Green: “Pleasant Grove” (1997) with commentary by Green, Orr, and Schneider, and “Physical Pinball” (1998)
o Charlie Rose interview with Green from 2001
o Interviews with cast members from a 2001 reunion
o Clu Gulager’s 1969 short film “A Day with the Boys”, which inspired “George Washington”
o Trailer
o DVD copy

“George Washington” was released on Blu-ray on March 11, 2014.

By Nick Allen

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.

Hot stories on the Web

User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing


  • Punk Punk

    CHICAGO – For theater that is audaciously in-the-now and generates a sparkle of life, there are few better storefront (garage, gothic gathering place) groups than “Nothing Without a Company.” Their latest, eclectic kick-in-the-head production is the intensely diverting and weirdly fun “Punk Punk.”

  • Assassination Theater

    CHICAGO – There are two dates in modern American History that ring in the heads of certain generations. Of course, there is September 11th, 2001, but the granddaddy of that date is November 22nd, 1963. That is when an American president, John F. Kennedy, was shot point blank in the head and killed on the street of an American city. The official proclamation from the government is that a lone assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, fired those shots. In a new Chicago play, “Assassination Theater,” subtitled “Chicago’s Role in the Crime of the Century,” the jury is still decidedly out.


HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter


HollywoodChicago.com Top Ten Discussions