Non-normative texts concern themselves with subject matter that is marginalized, or not widely accepted as “normal.” Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho – an ode to the abandoned, and the isolated – is an example. It’s an exercise in brilliant directorial innovation, and cinematic ingenuity – required viewing for the capsized, fissure-ridden heart.
The film offers up a discourse on the fragility, and the emotional and intellectual convolution, of children who are left with the burden of trying to understand why their parents have abandoned them. This search becomes obdurate and lost, in the cases of Mike Waters (a physical and emotional narcoleptic, played to perfection by River Phoenix), and Scott Favor (Keanu Reeves); Mike is subverted by an idyllic yearning for the past, while Scott is consumed by familial regret and rebellion. Read More »