Leaves of Grass
Leaves of Grass
Director: Tim Blake Nelson
Starring: Edward Norton, Richard Dreyfuss, Susan Sarandon, Keri Russell
Believing his drug-dealing identical twin brother Brady (Edward Norton) to be dead, stuffy University professor Bill (also Norton) goes back to the small town he grew up in to mourn. Upon arriving, however, he finds not only that Brady is alive but is trying to rope him into a scam designed to overthrow a local drug lord (Richard Dreyfuss).
This is the sort of comedy that would have been breeding ground for tame effects tricks 20 years ago, but the novelty of seeing two "Nortons" on screen at the same time is almost forgotten due to the genuine flexibility of the actor. At times hilarious, particularly as Brady, Norton also benefits from a sharp script by the director Tim Blake Nelson (best known as one of George Clooney's criminal cohorts in the Coen Brothers' Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?) and an understated air to the film that avoids cheap laughs in favour of something more subtle. Add to that an amazing cast for such a small production - the ever-reliable Keri Russell (Waitress) is on form as Norton's love interest, and the veteran Dreyfuss is a lot of fun as the drug lord, making you wonder why you don't see him in these types of roles more often.
Maybe too small-scale to be anything truly special, but an original and witty film that both surprises and entertains. He may be the most unpredictable of stars, but Norton in his own erratic way proves he is good enough to turn his hand at any genre.
Published: November 3, 2010 04:00 AM