Six feet under — but not yet
Get Low, rural drama, rated PG-13, Regal DeVargas, 3 chiles There are people who, well aware of the secret sins they have committed, build not only their own prison but their own gallows. Felix Bush is one such man. A self-exiled elderly hermit who lives in a house way out in the Tennessee woods, Felix punishes himself for a mysterious bad deed he committed in his youth. One day in the middle of winter, circa 1930, he rides into town for the first time in decades, looking like an aged Boo Radley from To Kill a Mockingbird coming out to meet the light.
“It’s time for me to get low,” Felix tells the town preacher. “I need a funeral.” “For whom?” the preacher asks. “For me.” “Are you sick?” “Everybody dies.” In fact, Felix has died — inside — long before his day of reckoning, and his hope is to host a funeral that is one part party and two parts confessional. When the preacher declines to help him, Felix instead enlists the aid of a couple of desperate-to-work funeral-home operators, Frank (Bill Murray) and Buddy (Lucas Black), to get the job done.
And that’s the premise of Get Low, a solid, quiet, contemplative drama with welcome doses of dark humor that doesn’t quite go far enough on any level to achieve greatness. Based on an old Tennessee fable about a supposed real-life gentleman, the film, directed by Aaron Schneider and written by Chris Provenzano and C. Gaby Mitchell, mixes wry comedy, backwoods whimsy, and melodramatic tragedy into a cinematic stew that is tasty but still missing some necessary ingredients.
The Boo Radley reference is appropriate here, given that Felix is played by Robert Duvall, who played Radley in the 1962 film version of Mockingbird. Duvall is listed as one of Get Low’s executive producers; he must have seen this film as a good opportunity