With unflinching cinematography, Paranoid Park gives a dark portrait of adolescent longing and anxiousness. Alex, played by newcomer Gabe Nevins, is an unfulfilled and apathetic teenager who befriends a young anarchist at the local skater hangout a.k.a. Paranoid Park. The teens aren’t satisfied with the uneasy existence of adolescence and long to experience something gritty and intense. When the teens hop a train and a tragedy befalls the security guard chasing them, this traumatic experience is too much for Alex.
When the murder goes unsolved, the police find Alex at his high school and he must confront his guilt, mortality, and the consequences of his actions. Based on author Blake Nelson’s grim coming-of-age tome, Paranoid Park is a bleak tale of misspent youth and, more or less, every parent’s nightmare. Gus Van Sant offers up a mesmerizing yet bleak tale of youth gone wild and teen recklessness and consequences. It’s a gorgeous film done in the simultaneously lush and stark style that has marked Van Sant’s recent films, including Last Days. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for gossip rag fodder Taylor Momsen as Alex’s virginal girlfriend, Jennifer.
Paranoid Park airs on IFC at 12:45 p.m. ET