A cantankerous hermit with a shady reputation named Felix Bush (Robert Duvall, in a brilliant performance) has lived alone in a ramshackle cabin for forty years before realizing it’s about time to “get low,” or die, and decides to venture into town with a wad of cash to plan his funeral, which he wants held while he is still alive.
Hearing of the money, an unscrupulous funeral director (Bill Murray in a humorous but subdued performance) and his assistant, played by Lucas Black, rise to the occasion. Bush, who is feared by many of the locals, insists upon inviting everyone in four counties who has a story to tell about him, knowing full well none of them will be flattering. But the story he truly wants told is a dark and secret one, and as we learn more about Bush’s curious past we realize that what he seeks is redemption for the sins that forced him into his decades-long seclusion.
Get Low is a simple film with a strong story and well-developed characters. The unraveling of Bush’s past adds an unexpected aspect of suspense. Duvall takes the stereotypical “hermit” character and infuses him with a depth and sense of mystery that is remarkable and refreshing. Sissy Spacek plays Bush’s old love, but the promise of a rekindled love is shattered by the dark secret Bush has kept for forty long years.
There is a subtle power in this film reminiscent of Duvall’s The Apostle or Billy Bob Thornton’s Sling Blade. It is definitely worth checking out.