I've been hearing great things about LEaves of Grass and it did really well at Sundance this year so when I was able to get my hands on it I was pretty excited. Mainly because Ed Norton is one of my favorite actors and someone who's work I constantly watch for inspiration. Lets just say that Ed Norton AND Ed Norton both shine brightly in Leaves of Grass.
The film is directed by Tim Blake Nelson who's better known for his acting roles in O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Good Girl, Minority Report, Wonderland, and one of his latest, The Incredible Hulk, also along side Edward Norton. Leaves of Grass is about a College professor named Brady who gets tricked into returning to his home town in Oklahoma by his identical twin brother Billy who needs him to be at his house while he heads up town to take care of a ruthless Jewish drug dealer named Pug, played by Richard Dreyfuss. Soon Brady is completely wrapped up in a drug dealing scheme with all sorts of crazy characters in a town he's been trying to forget about for years.
Edward Norton gives his best performance since American History X. I'm actually convinced that this very well may be his best performance ever. He nails both brothers to perfection. I mean both performances are really flawless, no mishaps, no nothing. What's so brilliant about these two roles is that not only is Norton playing both characters in the film in the same scenes opposite of each other, but he soon has to play Brady PLAYING Billy and vise versa, as it's all part of Billy's wild plan. It's freaking brilliant and it's a film that should be shown and analyzed in every acting school if you ask me, and if you're an aspiring actor I highly recommend studying this film.
Tim Blake Nelson definitely gives this film sort of a Cohen Brothers feeling to it. It's a whacky comedy with some serious elements to it and the performances are great all around. But this is Norton's film, he owns it. I really hope that come award season at the end of the year that this wont get overlooked. Hopefully it will get a wide release date closer to the end of the year because Norton will be in the best actor nomination race for sure. Leaves of Grass gets 4 1/2 outa 5. UPDATE: Leaves of Grass was pushed back to a late August release date closer to the Oscars. I smell and Oscar nom for Norton.