Ned Rifle (4/9)

Kickstarter-funded and cast from Hartley’s career-spanning pool of favorites, this is true independent cinema, tailor-made on a level that big studio flicks could never match. The story beginning with Henry Fool (starring Thomas Jay Ryan) and continuing with Fay Grim (starring Parker Posey) concludes with the two namesakes’ son (Liam Aiken) in the driver’s seat, a soft-spoken teenaged holy warrior on a totally un-ironic mission to kill his father, who may or may not be an extremely well-educated agent of Satan. Along for the ride is Parks and Rec’s Aubrey Plaza, who, in line with Hartley’s ongoing vision, beautifully plays up an unsettling ability to deliver a line with total sincerity, laced with arsenic sarcasm. For a revenge flick, there’s a lot of dialogue dedicated to a sexually-charged doctoral thesis and a poet laureate’s forays into comedy vlogging — all what we’ve come to expect from Hartley’s ever-evolving oeuvre. Plus, the wanton hedonism implied in a simple scene of grocery shopping on a stolen credit card perfectly summarizes Hartley’s eloquence in the art of understatement.
Dir. Hal Hartley, 2014, DCP, 85 min.

Watch the trailer for “Ned Rifle”!
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