Henry and Fay's son Ned sets out to find and kill his father for destroying his mother's life. But his aims are frustrated by the troublesome Susan, whose connection to Henry predates even his arrival in the lives of the Grim family.
It’s not bad or unwatchable but despite the amplitude of the spectacle, the end result is underwhelming.
... View More
It's the kind of movie you'll want to see a second time with someone who hasn't seen it yet, to remember what it was like to watch it for the first time.
... View More
Charles Herold (cherold)
Ned Rifle ends the Henry Fool trilogy in classic Hal Hartley style, with damaged people unable to connect or to explain themselves.This was a relief after Fay Grimm, the Henry Fool sequel that occurred during Hartley's dalliance with genre storytelling, something he failed to ever get a handle on. The movie begins as a revenge tale, with Henry's son deciding to hunt down and kill his father for ruining his imprisoned mother's life. Along the way he joins up with a mysterious and sexy scholar with a plan of her own. That description makes it sounds like a genre film after all, and in a way this movie ably bridges classic Hartley with genre Hartley.The original cast is still there and is excellent, with a slightly mad Henry and a disillusioned Simon. New to the trilogy is Aubrey Plaza as the mystery woman. Plaza is a perfect Harley actor able to work within his peculiarly affectless emotionalism. This movie is what I expect from Hartley; quirky humor, opaque characters, complex motives, and within that more emotion than one might expect. While it's not quite up to the level of early Hartley films like Trust or Surviving desire, it definitely scratches the Hartley itch.
... View More
For someone who's never been gone.Admittedly, I'd do well to see a few of Hartley's films again — and catch a couple I've missed — but this one hit me as straight-on as nothing of his since 'Simple Men' (one of my three favorite movies ever!).The droll, deadpan surface level of the dialogue once again serves to convey an *immense* amount of thought, anguish, and backstory behind each character, with their wounds, indignations, and strivings. The intersections are never less than enlightening, as each has to truly grapple with the other (Hartley once said he wasn't interested in writing other than "strong-willed characters"), finding, at every turn, no small amount of articulation of one's desires is required just to cope.Sounds like a drag? This stuff's hilarious! "I know what it *means*, Fay." "And then, afterwards, he still didn't introduce me." "Oh ... you're religious?"Complainers remind me of what Atom Egoyan once said about the responses to his early films, contending that they were "cold": "To me, it's almost operatic ... they're *so* far gone, they could barely muster the energy to kill themselves." (paraphrasing from memory, here.) Similarly, in Hal Hartley's films, every look, every gesture, has so much boiled down into it that only the truly-astute would notice the immense amount of ground covered in this ostensibly-sparse 94 min.(Best screening I've ever attended at the Laurelhurst Theater here in Portland, too! Even subtle, little jokes — the kind that "barely happen" — got people knowingly chuckling, and I had a nice conversation with a woman in lobby about the latest issue of 'Cometbus' that I was reading: "What's he doing nowadays? Me and my friends had been wondering!" He's around. We're all around, it seems!)Hallelujah.
... View More
What was the point of this film? I was such a big Hal Hartley fan. Those early films were great and had so much promise. 'The Unbelievable Truth' - still a fav. The other early ones, of their time but still lots to enjoy. Henry Foole was good, everything since has been so awful... don't know what happened to Hartley the writer except that he had his success and then had nothing left to say. For him to have so little ideas so as to take characters from an old film (Hal Hartley), which wasn't half bad, and have them drive around to no plot and with nothing to say was really sad. The semi-nudity wasn't worth it either. I turned it off with 2 minutes left to go, I didn't care what the ending was or what profound facial expression the characters would stare into the distance with. I'll try to forget this, enjoy the oldies, and I swear.. after waiting a long time to see this one, I'll never waste my time on a new Hal film again!
... View More
I ran across "Ned Rifle" because of the good rating that it had on Rotten Tomatoes (Currently, it is at 77%). I also noticed that it had some really good actors in it (Parker Posey, Aubrey Plaza, Martin Donovan, among others), so I decided to take a chance on it. In the opening scene, (for those who didn't see "Henry Fool" or "Fay Grim") it certainly felt like you had to play catch-up. Ned's mother, Fay (Parker Posey) is in prison for being an alleged terrorist, which leads back to what happened in the previous film, "Fay Grim". But, even though I didn't see the previous two films, I was still able to get a good idea of what happened. Director/Writer Hal Hartley does a pretty good job with presenting the information that you need to know, even if you never saw the other films. The acting is wonderful. Parker Posey does a great job with the little scenes that she has, bringing a lot to such a small role. Liam Aiken is likable as the titular character. He has a way about him, that you want him to succeed in his mission. Aubrey Plaza's signature humor (I won't list the word that is associated with her type of humor, since she revealed that she hates that word), but her line delivery fits perfect with this world that the audience is presented. This brings us to the MVP of the film: Thomas Jay Ryan. Whenever he is on screen as Henry Fool, he knocks it out of the park, bringing a manic energy to the film that helps the second half to propel past the first half. It all culminates in an incredibly tense final 10 minutes. The film is about 81 minutes (including four minutes for opening and closing credits), but it will stick with you long after it is over. I stumbled across this movie, but I am glad that I took the time to see it. Heck, I might even have to go and seek out the other two movies in this "trilogy". Highly recommended for fans of indie films.