When Henry Fool was first released, it seemed like a perfect encapsulation of writer-director Hal Hartley’s career: An exemplar of a certain ‘90s indie aesthetic, expressed in layers of ironic detachment, but yearning for the poetic, with a killer of an ending shot. Almost 10 years later came the sequel Fay Grim, which felt like taking a time machine back to that era. Even if it didn’t quite match the highs of the first film, it nonetheless gave us the always welcome sight of Parker Posey delivering Hartley’s usual flat-affect dialogue. Now we get Ned Rifle, the ostensible conclusion to the saga, which tells the story of Henry’s now-grown son, out to get revenge on his father for ruining his mother’s life. He’s joined by Susan, played by Hartley newcomer Aubrey Plaza, and who almost seems too perfect for the role—like she was genetically designed to deliver material like this. Audiences at South By Southwest, where the film is an official selection, will soon get a chance to see for themselves.
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