One of the less well-trumpeted Kickstarter movie success stories in the last year or so is that of Ned Rifle, Hal Hartley’s third and final Henry Fool picture.
It comes after Henry Fool and Fay Grim, each of them named for a character in this family saga turned espionage thriller.
Something tells me that part three will turn away from the espionage again but, as is always the case with Hartley, the film could take a corner and turn into just about any genre.
And render the genre only just recognisable.
It’s hard to explain the pleasures of Hartley’s films in just a few words but he perhaps did it himself when describing his film Amateur as “a thriller with one flat tire.”
Maybe we could say Fay Grim was an espionage thriller with a cracked windscreen and fluctuating alternator. Henry Fool was a family drama with a leaky tank and off-balance steering.
Okay, it’s harder than he made it look.
Perhaps another way to express the particular tone of Hartley’s pictures is through the casting. In much the way Parker Posey slotted in perfectly in the previous Fool pictures, so I expect Aubrey Plaza will fit snugly in Ned Rifle.
According to Variety, Plaza is the latest addition to a cast that also includes a lot of his favourite players – Martin Donovan, Karen Sillas, Robert John Burke, William Sage and, yes, Parker Posey. James Urbaniak and Thomas Jay Ryan will also be back to reprise their roles from the previous two “episodes.”
Hartley has called the film, “the most accessible and rollicking film I’ve ever written while concerning things I care about deeply” and described the plot thus:
In this swiftly paced conclusion, Henry and Fay’s son, Ned, played by Liam Aiken, turns 18 and leaves a witness protection program. (“Rifle” is his maternal grandmother’s maiden name—he’s incognito). His mom has spent the last four years in military custody for alleged terrorist activities (see Fay Grim, 2007) and is transferred to a federal penitentiary to serve a life sentence. Ned, who has absorbed the Christianity of the well adjusted and devout family he has been living with, nevertheless sets out to find and kill his dad, Henry Fool, for the mess the man has made of Fay’s life. But his aims are frustrated by the brilliant, sexy, and troubled Susan, whose connection to Henry predates even the great man’s arrival in the lives of the Grim family.
Brilliant, sexy and troubled? Come in Aubrey Plaza, your number has been called.
Ned Rifle should hit the festival circuit in the next year and then, thanks to various folk who bought distribution rights as part of the Kickstarter, roll out around the world.
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