Bell Diamond (Jost, 1986)

This review contains slight spoilers.

Bell Diamond (Jon Jost, 1986)

Another view of rural realism by Jon Jost – and yes, this stuff is still great. Truth be told, I was sold on this the minute it started and we learn the protagonist is a Royals’ fan. The voices of Bob White and Denny Matthews linger in the background while names like George Brett, Frank White, and Hal McRae pull me right in to the setting. But even with that connection aside, this is a sympathetically presented drama; a man and wife separate and we watch the two deal individually with the days that follow. As he always does, Jost creates an atmosphere that’s as real as it gets. Grainy yet beautiful cinematography matches the industrial town setting. Characters wander, talk slowly and at times nonsensically, with the occasional bit of poetic music thrown in to walk these characters from scene to scene. And the avoidance of painting any one character as ‘wrong’ is the film’s key, because when the final 15 minutes roll around and subtle glimmers of love start poking through (followed by a hokey last scene, but I won’t worry about that), it’s impossible to feel anything other than happiness and relief.  8.5/10

bell diamond


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