Hal Hartley’s first entry in his Grim Family trilogy is his most famous, critically acclaimed, and in my opinion; best. Generally billed as a dark comedy, I’d put the emphasis on the “dark” here. Hartley’s signature stylings are present in spades: the New Jersey setting, characters taking long dialogue pauses between strange philosophical ramblings, stylized cinematography, wonderfully bizarre staging. If you like this kindof thing, especially the Bressonian cinematography and quirky humor, please skip the sequel which is basically unwatchable (even though I love Parker Posey).
An egocentric bum (Thomas Jay Ryan) transforms the lives of a shy New Jersey garbageman (James Urbaniak) and his sister (Parker Posey).