Too much of everything
This is one of the few movies I've ever seen where the whole audience broke into spontaneous, loud applause a third of the way in.
The storyline feels a little thin and moth-eaten in parts but this sequel is plenty of fun.
There's no way I can possibly love it entirely but I just think its ridiculously bad, but enjoyable at the same time.
Charles Herold (cherold)
Ned Rifle ends the Henry Fool trilogy in classic Hal Hartley style, with damaged people unable to connect or to explain themselves.This was a relief after Fay Grimm, the Henry Fool sequel that occurred during Hartley's dalliance with genre storytelling, something he failed to ever get a handle on. The movie begins as a revenge tale, with Henry's son deciding to hunt down and kill his father for ruining his imprisoned mother's life. Along the way he joins up with a mysterious and sexy scholar with a plan of her own. That description makes it sounds like a genre film after all, and in a way this movie ably bridges classic Hartley with genre Hartley.The original cast is still there and is excellent, with a slightly mad Henry and a disillusioned Simon. New to the trilogy is Aubrey Plaza as the mystery woman. Plaza is a perfect Harley actor able to work within his peculiarly affectless emotionalism. This movie is what I expect from Hartley; quirky humor, opaque characters, complex motives, and within that more emotion than one might expect. While it's not quite up to the level of early Hartley films like Trust or Surviving desire, it definitely scratches the Hartley itch.
What was the point of this film? I was such a big Hal Hartley fan. Those early films were great and had so much promise. 'The Unbelievable Truth' - still a fav. The other early ones, of their time but still lots to enjoy. Henry Foole was good, everything since has been so awful... don't know what happened to Hartley the writer except that he had his success and then had nothing left to say. For him to have so little ideas so as to take characters from an old film (Hal Hartley), which wasn't half bad, and have them drive around to no plot and with nothing to say was really sad. The semi-nudity wasn't worth it either. I turned it off with 2 minutes left to go, I didn't care what the ending was or what profound facial expression the characters would stare into the distance with. I'll try to forget this, enjoy the oldies, and I swear.. after waiting a long time to see this one, I'll never waste my time on a new Hal film again!
I ran across "Ned Rifle" because of the good rating that it had on Rotten Tomatoes (Currently, it is at 77%). I also noticed that it had some really good actors in it (Parker Posey, Aubrey Plaza, Martin Donovan, among others), so I decided to take a chance on it. In the opening scene, (for those who didn't see "Henry Fool" or "Fay Grim") it certainly felt like you had to play catch-up. Ned's mother, Fay (Parker Posey) is in prison for being an alleged terrorist, which leads back to what happened in the previous film, "Fay Grim". But, even though I didn't see the previous two films, I was still able to get a good idea of what happened. Director/Writer Hal Hartley does a pretty good job with presenting the information that you need to know, even if you never saw the other films. The acting is wonderful. Parker Posey does a great job with the little scenes that she has, bringing a lot to such a small role. Liam Aiken is likable as the titular character. He has a way about him, that you want him to succeed in his mission. Aubrey Plaza's signature humor (I won't list the word that is associated with her type of humor, since she revealed that she hates that word), but her line delivery fits perfect with this world that the audience is presented. This brings us to the MVP of the film: Thomas Jay Ryan. Whenever he is on screen as Henry Fool, he knocks it out of the park, bringing a manic energy to the film that helps the second half to propel past the first half. It all culminates in an incredibly tense final 10 minutes. The film is about 81 minutes (including four minutes for opening and closing credits), but it will stick with you long after it is over. I stumbled across this movie, but I am glad that I took the time to see it. Heck, I might even have to go and seek out the other two movies in this "trilogy". Highly recommended for fans of indie films.
Greetings again from the darkness. The third and final entry to writer/director Hal Hartley's trilogy provides a fitting end to the saga that began in 1997 with Henry Fool, and continued in 2006 with Fay Grim. Mr. Hartley's style lends itself well to the indie world and film festival circuit, as he connects with unusually paced and elevated dialogue, an arid-dry sense of humor, and a slew of misfit characters.The four main characters have been played by the same actors across all three films. Liam Aiken was only 7 years old when he first played Ned, and he becomes the focus of this final chapter. Ned is the son of Fay (Parker Posey) and Henry (Thomas Jay Ryan). When this story picks up, Fay is serving a life sentence in federal prison for terrorist activities, and Henry's whereabouts are unknown
except by "Uncle" Simon (James Urbaniak), the garbage man-turned-poet laureate.Ned is turning 18 years old and has spent four years in witness protection as part of a family led by a guilt-ridden Reverend (Martin Donovan). Ned has really taken to religion – especially the fire and brimstone vengeance parts. See, Ned blames Henry for Fay's life turn and aims to gain revenge.The first part of the movie has Ned and Susan (Aubrey Plaza) tracking down Henry. Susan is the grad student supposedly working with Fay on her autobiography, and stalking Simon for his poetic metaphysics. But of course, Susan has secrets and some are less than pleasant.Once Henry is located, Mr. Ryan provides a nice energy boost and shift in tone. He is one glorious film character
unless of course, you are his son or some other poor schmuck left floundering in his wake of life. He and Ned don't really have much of a bond, but Ryan and Plaza create some fireworks that some may find a bit creepy.Just keeping up with the rapid-fire dialogue from Henry, Simon and Susan is a cinematic joy, and the off-beat humor prevents the dark material from ever reaching a bleak stage. When Ned visits Fay in prison she asks disgustedly "You're religious?" – making it clear that she, a convicted felon, is extremely disappointed in her 18 year old son. It's played for a laugh and gets one. There is another line spouted by Susan that includes a review of "obscene work indifferent to mainstream approval". We have little doubt that line was written by Mr. Hartley to describe his own work.