When I heard the premise of Get Low, which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival last year to rave reviews, I thought it might be a comedy. (That was after I realized it wasn’t a feature film based on the Lil Jon song of the same name.) The film embellishes the real-life story of Tennessee woods-living hermit Felix Bush (Robert Duvall), who ventured into town after forty years of keeping to himself on his large estate, only to inquire about throwing himself a funeral party. As in, even though he wasn’t dead yet, he wanted to have a funeral in order to hear what people had to say about him. It turns out not a lot of the townsfolk were big fans of Felix, which is why funeral director Frank Quinn (Bill Murray) dreamed up with the idea of encouraging attendance by promising to raffle off Bush’s land (after he really died) to whomever held the winning ticket. It had the makings of a comedy, right? A 1930s-set black comedy? There aren’t enough of those!
However, while the trailer below certainly highlights a few humorous moments, it’s clear that ol’ Felix is surrounded by a mystery of the darkest kind… and that he probably had a more nefarious reason for wanting to throw his own good-bye party than what he told Quinn. So this is in no way the slapstick cousin of last week’s Death at a Funeral. Nor does Lil Jon appear at any time, shouting “GET CRUNK!”
Despite the absence of Lil Jon, I think it looks great. The cast is incredible, and the story is unique, for once. Further, all of the early buzz spells good things for first-time director Aaron Schneider.
Get Low is coming to theaters courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics, so it’s undoubtedly only going to have a limited run across the country. Right now it’s set to debut July 30 in NYC and LA — if you’re interested, keep track of other city release dates on the film’s web site.