Last night I watched Gus Van Sant's very quiet 'Gerry' about two friends named Gerry who go on a hike in the desert and get lost. Nothing much else happens. The dialogue is sparse and there is no real plot, instead the film relies mostly on the body language of the actors, the beautifully shot emptiness of the desert, and the haunting score by Arvo Part.
When the two friends do speak it is often funny and shows a close, competitive rapport. As things begin to go wrong the Gerrys (Matt Damon and Casey Affleck) refer to their navigation mistakes as a 'gerry,' as in 'Dude, we really gerried that by heading north.' Later they consider following some animal tracksin hopes they will lead to water, but are concerned the tracks may lead to mating grounds instead and their presence will disturb the animals. The Gerry's decide that as they approach the animals they will hide so as to not make the animals 'feel self concscious about their bodies and mating' rituals.
As their desperation grows the dialogue and score virtually ceases. The only sounds are of the wind rushing across the desolate landscape and their own breath as they trudge across it.
A hallucination of an empty dirt road is reminiscent of 'My Own Private Idaho' when River Phoenix's character says, 'This is my road. I know this road' as he stands alone in a blank landscape. Gus Van Sant knows how to shoot loneliness. The Gerry's don't know where their road is, but they trudge on at an increasingly slower pace in search of it.