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Skate Movie Review: “Paranoid Park”

By Andres Pachon

A. Pachon, a journalist and skateboard addict, is a full-time writer for SHIT® Magazine. 


Paranoid Park is a French-American movie released in 2009, directed by Gus Van Sant. it is based on the novel by Blake Nelson and it all happens in Portland, Oregón (USA).

Back in the day (when it was a thing) the casting for the movie was made trough MySpace, the director was looking for non-professional actors to give the movie a more realistic feel, and about 2,971 kids auditioned for parts.

Star of the film, Alex (portrayed by Gabe Nevins), lives and skates in Portland, Oregon. The events happen in a very particular and chaotic way and we don’t want to spoil too much but it involves a murder and a chain of events that is distorted to create an elliptical narrative. Shortly after the film opens, you see Alex writing the words Paranoid Park in a notebook, something that seems unimportant being just the name of the flick but as the movie goes on, you will notice how important this little event is.






Narrative And Visual

Alex will take you through the whole story that is narrated by himself as he writes it down in a notebook, Alex shapes the story in a very unconventional way, so there is nor really a beginning or an end to the movie or at least the narrative is not done in a straight timeline. Alex says in the beginning “I’m writing this a little out of order. Sorry. I didn’t do so well in creative writing.” Which could give you a hint of what’s coming your way.

Director Van Sant’s makes use of different film speeds and jump cuts and his tendency to underscore his own storytelling — he regularly, and almost compulsively repeats certain images and lines — which gives the film a realistic but also dreamlike vibe.

The ambient of the movie is pretty gloomy and features an always gray and rainy Portland, Alex’s small room and a concrete skatepark are the main scenarios in which the movie will develop. In contrast, we have the countryside next to the sea which is the only very well illuminated scenario in the film and were Alex writes the story.



Its haunting soundtrack will take you through a rollercoaster of emotions, its mainly driven by classical music from Italian composer Nino Rota which contrasts very well with the rock and rap from groups like Menomena and Nutz, these tracks will take you mostly trough the mood Alex has in each scene and the ambient produced by the people he surrounds with.



Gabe Nevins: Álex

Daniel Liu: Detective Richard Lu

Jake Miller: Jared

Taylor Momsen: Jénnifer

Lauren McKinney: Macy

Olivier Garnier: Cal

Scott Green: Scratch

Winfield Henry Jackson: Christian

Dillon Hines: Henry

Brad Peterson: Jolt

John Michael Burrowes: Security guard

Emma Nevins: Paisley

Joe Schweitzer: Paul

Christopher Doyle: Tommy’s uncle

Grace Carter: Álex’s Mom

Jay Small Williamson: Álex’s Dad

Critically claimed and chosen by the "Les Cahiers du cinéma" (France) as the best movie of 2007, we assure you this mystery thriller will keep you stuck to your screen!




Read also: Skate Movie Review: Thrashin' Skate or Die!

Read also: Mid90s Review: The Skateboard Movie is Making an Impact


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