In Gus Van Sant's GERRY, a film more concerned with atmosphere and visual breadth than with story or plot, a frivolous hike through the desert evolves into an existential journey for two young men. The film features only two characters, both named Gerry and played by the film's co-creators Casey Affleck and Matt Damon. Driving through a desert populated with imposing rock formations and bordered by miles of sky, the two Gerrys stop to see an unspecified "thing" which they are unable to find. The two young men then attempt to return to their car, but cannot find the pathway back. As they wander through the increasingly difficult desert terrain, their journey strains their friendship and becomes an exploration that is clearly about more than just finding the car.
After several commercial projects, GERRY is in some ways a return to roots for director Gus Van Sant. The motifs of moving clouds and the desert imagery may recall his early works--MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO and EVEN COWGIRLS GET THE BLUES--but GERRY is even more ambitious than those revered projects. Highly influenced by Hungarian filmmaker Bela Tarr (WERCKMEISTER HARMONIES), the film uses minimal dialogue and long, languishing shots to achieve a meditative mood.