The formerly amiable director/actor/professional comics geek Kevin Smith has shown with his last few films that he’s interested in growing as a filmmaker. Never has that been more evident than in the first trailer for his new film Tusk.
His first few films were always terrifically scripted and well-acted (for the most part), but the directing was very pedestrian, to put it mildly. Smith’s first real stab at growth came with 2006’s Clerks II, where he incorporated a number of well-staged musical numbers–one at a go-kart track and another on the roof of Mooby’s–that showed he’s learned not just how to move his camera, but do interesting things with shot composition.
With his self-funded and self-distributed 2011 flick Red State, Smith took some huge leaps forward, and found his second muse in Tarantino regular Michael Parks, an actor with an unusual knack for really selling Smith’s florid and stylish language–much like Jason Lee had been 16 years earlier. Now he’s re-teamed with Parks for Tusk, a film about a podcaster (something Smith knows a thing or two about) played by Justin Long, who travels to Canada to meet with a reclusive man (Parks) with an incredible story of survival, which may or may not be a ruse, or a cunning attempt to trick him, as Clerks taught us.
It looks pretty damn interesting, and certainly unlike anything else Smith has done, yet there’s that unmistakable Smithiness to the dialogue that you just can’t escape. The film is set to be released in North America on September 19th…