Murray leads in the average ‘St. Vincent’

Murray leads in the average ‘St. Vincent’

By Jacob Pierce

Bill Murray is proof of the impossible. Once known for his classic comedic performances in films like “Ghostbusters” and “Caddyshack,” Murray is now a staple of the indie genre. He has evolved within the movie industry, and has crossed genre boundaries.

“St. Vincent” (Rated PG-13; 103 min) is a basic indie film directed by Theodore Melfi and stars Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts and Chris O’ Dowd.

Vincent, played by Murray, is a flawed man. He spends most days drinking at a bar, gambling at the racetrack and hanging around with a pregnant Russian prostitute. He knows what he wants—to be left alone.

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A single mother moves in next door to him, instantly disturbing his way of life. Her son Oliver, played by Jaeden Lieberher, needs a babysitter, and she has very few options. Murray reluctantly takes the job and slowly starts to bond with the boy.

Most of the problems in the film come from the script. While being clever and witty at times, it holds back a cast of talented actors, who try to elevate the material.

The script is formulaic and falls into the same trap as most bad indie films. It juggles a constant stream of unimportant plot points that lead to nowhere. Storylines are brought up and then dropped quickly with little point.

However, many of the heartbreaking moments in the movie do come from scripted events. The talent elevates these moments to a memorable level.

It is hard to describe why Vincent is one of the best characters Murray has every played. To do so would to spoil many great moments throughout the film. Simply, Vincent is defined in ways no average movie can.

He is never the man any of the characters think he is. He gives up everything he has just to make those in his life happy. At the same time, he wants to push everyone away and play the unhappy old man role. This is the mark of a well-defined character.

Jaeden Lieberher, Murray’s partner in crime for most of the film, does his best to steal the spotlight. He makes viewers feel sympathy for Oliver, a quality some child actors struggle with. This is his first movie, sure it will not be his last.

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Lieberher shows the ability of an established actor, although this is his first full-length film. Oliver is a child of divorce. His mother barely sees him because of her career. His relationship with Vincent seems to be the only thing holding him together.

Oliver’s emotional journey is communicated through Lieberher’s facial expressions. They show happiness, even when Vincent is insulting him, pain when he fails him and even empathy when he helps Vincent in his struggles.

A movie does not have to be terrific to be worthy of viewing. A lot of times, it is about illuminating the strengths of a project rather than dwelling on its mistakes. The strengths of Murray, Lieberher and the rest of the cast are well worth the price of admission.

Jacob Pierce can be reached at [email protected]on Twitter @JacobPierce1_DE or at 536-3311 ext.273

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