Ned Rifle (2014) Directed By Hal Hartley
End game. Who knew that Hal Hartley's masterful Henry Fool (increasingly coming off as his finest movie) would spawn a trilogy, his own Boyhood if you like. Hartley has managed to retain all the principal players over a 17 year period. And although Fay Grim (the 2nd of the trilogy) came off as a slight disappointment, Ned Rifle rounds off this improbable series in fine Hartley style. Put simply, Ned Rifle comes over as a Greatest Hits album of Hartley cinema, carefully compiled, all the expected Hartley ingredients (minus one) are here. Liam Aiken (Ned Rifle) has grown into an astute Hartley style actor – he's still very young and has appeared as a child in the previous two films. Parker Posey, James Urbaniak and crucially Thomas Jay Ryan reprises his Henry Fool role, in all it's glorious distaste. But Hal brings more to Ned Rifle's table – he brings some of his most iconic actors from the Hartley cannon to embellish slighter roles in the picture. Hartley regulars Martin Donovan, Bill Sage, Robert John Burke and Karen Silas all appear to help bring familiarity and that slightly angular prose to life. This could be the most Hal Hartleyesque picture ever.
|Susan and Ned try to lose each other in Ned Rifle|
|Aubrey Plaza as Susan represents the quintessential Hartley character|
So we went to Austin, discovered American Netflix and made plans to watch all kinds of great things that were suddenly available. The only thing standing in the way was my jet-lag, which forced my eyes to close right around 9PM. Eventually we got around to watching Ned Rifle, an obsession of Nick's as it is another Hal Hartley movie. At this point I feel like Hal Hartley is an heirloom that has been passed down to me to treasure. Watching Hartley films always makes me think of the days long gone when I was 19 and fell in love with a man who had Amateur on VHS.
|A rare moment with Henry Fool in Ned Rifle|
|There's not enough Parker Posey in this film, but she's great when she's on screen|