Back in Shack: A half-century after playing Radley, Duvall depicts another weirdo.

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Boo Radley’s now got one foot in the grave and knows he’s been the subject of some nasty gossip over the years. So he throws himself a “funeral party” while he’s still alive, inviting everyone who’s ever passed along a tall tale so he can hear what they’ve been saying about him. Well, Boo is actually named Felix Bush in Aaron Schneider’s directorial debut, Get Low, but the particulars of Felix and the To Kill a Mockingbird character are the pretty much the same: They’re both years-long recluses whose isolation is mythical, resulting in stories that frame them as monsters and kids who dare each other to approach the freaks’ homes. And they’re both played by Robert Duvall, his Boo appearing in the cinematic adaptation of the Harper Lee novel nearly 50 years ago. Here, Duvall defaults to his cranky-ol’-eccentric schtick, wild-eyed and -haired as a man in 1930s Tennessee who’s been holed up deep in the woods for decades. News of an acquaintance’s death—plus a dream about his own—spur Felix to head into town and make arrangements for his funeral. The preacher doesn’t want any part of it, but the local mortician, Frank (Bill Murray), is happy to take Felix’s wadded up “hermit money.” (Earlier, Frank is depressed about his suffering business, noting that when you can’t make it rendering a service that everyone in the world needs, “It’s gotta be you.”) So Frank’s young partner, Buddy (Lucas Black), is tasked with handling the prickly Felix, though he’s of the generation that’s heard awful things about the man. Felix has another reason for arranging his funeral: He has indeed done something wrong, and he wants to confess what led him to turn his cabin into a prison. And though this revelation is moving, Get Low slathers on the hillbilly hokum a bit too thick while getting there. Duvall can do crazy in his sleep, and his Felix goes from borderline autistic—with his speech peppered with a yeah-yeah-yeah tic—to absolutely charming, especially around his sorta love interest (Sissy Spacek). The script, by Chris Provenzano and C. Gaby Mitchell, acknowledges this when Frank says, “Is it just me, or is he extremely articulate when he wants to be?”—but the statement feels more like a patch for an unbelievable personality change than something organic. When Felix is feeling wordy, he’s likable enough, and Murray is a highlight with his gently dry one-liners. But ultimately, the setup too often feels forced, with The Big Reveal hardly worth wading through the film’s strenuous deliberateness.