Pavilion's teen dream | Movie Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Pavilion's teen dream

Tim Sutton's drama captures the urgency and unease of adolescence.

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This lyrical drama, which finds its aesthetic somewhere between the long takes of Gus Van Sant's Elephant (2003) and the intimate, home-movie feel in much of Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life (2011), captures adolescence at its most wistful. Director Tim Sutton forgoes a detailed narrative—what little plot the film has involves a 15-year-old boy (Max Schaffner) who leaves his mother's home in upstate New York to live with his father in suburban Arizona—in favor of abstract sketches involving afternoon bike rides, lakeside idylls, and endearingly awkward social interactions. Shallow-focus photography sharpens the action and gives the seemingly banal images a sense of drama, capturing the urgency of childhood without resorting to histrionics.

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