Gerry (2002 film)

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Gerry (2002 movie poster).jpg
Directed by Gus Van Sant
Produced by Dany Wolf
Written by Casey Affleck
Matt Damon
Gus Van Sant
Starring Matt Damon
Casey Affleck
Music by Arvo Pärt
Edited by Casey Affleck
Matt Damon
Gus Van Sant
Distributed by THINKFilm
Release dates
  • January 12, 2002 (2002-01-12) (Sundance)
  • February 14, 2003 (2003-02-14) (United States)
Running time
103 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $3.5 million
Box office $254,683[1]

Gerry is a 2002 American drama film directed by Gus Van Sant and starring Matt Damon and Casey Affleck, who also co-wrote the film with Van Sant. It is the first film of Van Sant's "Death Trilogy", three films based on deaths that occurred in real life, and is succeeded by Elephant (2003) and Last Days (2005).

Frequently cited as an example of non-narrative cinema, Gerry is noted, among other things, for its slow pacing and unvarying set pieces.


Gerry follows two hiking companions who both go by the name "Gerry". "Gerry" is also a slang term, used by both protagonists throughout the misadventure, meaning "to screw up".[2] Van Sant revealed in interviews that Damon, Affleck and his brother Ben had already coined the term before the movie had been named.[2]

The film's plot shares some commonalities with the events surrounding the death of David Coughlin, who was killed by his friend after the two became lost in Rattlesnake Canyon in New Mexico.

The film's style was largely inspired by the work of Hungarian director Bela Tarr, namely its use of extended scenes playing out in uncut master shots. There are a few direct visual quotations from Tarr's Satantango such as a shot following the two protagonists while tumbleweeds blow around them that mimics a shot in Tarr's film where three people walk through a town as a windstorm blows around leaves and trash.

Besides the work of Bela Tarr, the video game Tomb Raider was cited as an influence on the style of the film. Van Sant had mentioned that he hadn't had much experience with video games and was struck by the fact that the lack of the ability to cut away from the action in video games meant having to stay with the characters during travel that would normally be glossed over in films. In an interview with Filmmaker Magazine Van Sant stated "In some ways, Gerry is Béla Tarr fused with Tomb Raider!" [3]


The characters drive to a remote location to hike at a site marked "Wilderness Trail". As they start, they see some other hikers passing by. After some walking, talking, and an impromptu foot race, they decide to head back. Before long, they realize that they are lost. That night, they build a campfire.

Over the next couple of days, the two hikers wander through the wilderness without food or water. They try splitting up for a while, they try to retrace their steps, they try to follow some animal tracks, all to no avail. They grow increasingly irritated with each other as the situation becomes dire.

They eventually find themselves slowly walking, mostly in silence, through a desert. They finally collapse due to fatigue and dehydration. The weaker of the two (Affleck) proclaims that he is "leaving", and reaches towards Damon's character. Damon's character rolls on top of Affleck and wordlessly strangles him before collapsing again.

After some time, Damon's character awakens and realises that a highway is not far away. In the final sequence, he is badly sunburned but watches the passing landscape from the car of the father and son who have seemingly rescued him.


Gerry was shot in a semi-improvised style with a small crew in the province of Salta in Argentina, Death Valley, and the Utah Salt Flats.

The film is dedicated to the memory of Ken Kesey.[4]

Gus Van Sant named Chantal Akerman's Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975) an inspiration for this film. [5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Gerry". Box Office Mojo. 2002. 
  2. ^ a b Gerry meandering
  3. ^ Macaulay, Scott. "Filmmaker Magazine Interviews Gus Van Sant". Filmmaker Magazine. Retrieved 8 February 2016. 
  4. ^ "Film Review: Gerry". Retrieved 2016-02-15. 
  5. ^

External links[edit]