Get Low

Robert Duvall plays Felix Bush, a cantankerous hermit in a small town somewhere in the South, sometime during the 1930s. Staring his mortality in the face, Felix goes to the local funeral home (led by a strong Bill Murray, in character actor mode) and asks for what we would now call a "living wake" – that is, Felix wants a funeral, but he wants to be alive and present when it happens. He plans to invite the townspeople to tell stories about him – a daunting task, as Felix is generally despised and feared by the local populace – but those plans change when Felix decides he wants to do the talking. It's clear from the beginning that he has something heavy weighing on his soul... but what is it?

Yes, it's another of those movies where the main character has a big dark secret, and spends the next ninety minutes making us wait until he finally spills the beans. I am very tired of this plot device. It's cheap and distracting and the great revelation at the end rarely justifies the wait.

That said, uniformly fine acting and an impressive eye for period detail keep Get Low afloat. Duvall, Murray, and Sissy Spacek are all in top form. I had a few other problems with the film – for instance, a black preacher is strangely accepted by rural whites, which doesn't seem very likely in the Depression-era South – but it's a decent little movie that, despite its dark undertones, you can take your granny to.