In Prince Avalanche, painting yellow lane-dividing lines on rural roads is serious Saturnine business. And the no-nonsense taskmaster who takes extraordinary pleasure in the work while reveling in the solitude this neck of the woods provides is Alvin (Paul Rudd), a man whose head space is way older than his years. Under his wing is a not-so-serious assistant, Lance (Emile Hirsch), the younger brother of Alvin’s off-camera girfriend, Madison.
The guys have a lot to teach each another and two key questions – will Alvin lighten up and will Lance embrace maturity – are at the heart of David Gordon Green’s movie, set in Texas, in 1987.
Alvin evinces all the signs of Saturn-ruled Capricorn – a huge sense of responsibility, a sterling work ethic, a profound desire for self-improvement, self-sufficiency and self-mastery – he prefers to listen to language-instruction tapes – and an insistence on Lance’s respect for the older guy’s comic books. Alvin simply basks in the glow of Saturnine routine, the boring nature of which drives most people up a wall. And he’s also big on the means-to-an-end strategizing – he only took this onerous job to try to build a better relationship with his girlfriend.
The movie’s optimistic note comes when Alvin – who’s on his own one day while Lance spends some time in town – has a touching conversation with an older woman who has all the hallmarks of being a ghost. She’s revisiting a demolished space that she once called home to search for a pilot’s license and log book, and wants to know how she’ll ever be able to prove she’s had those experiences. Alvin replies, “You never know when miracles happen.”
Astrology Film Review: ♄ (Saturn)