A teenage skateboarder's life begins to fray after he is involved in the accidental death of a security guard.


Gus Van Sant


Gus Van Sant (screenplay), Blake Nelson (novel)
8 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Gabe Nevins ... Alex
Daniel Liu Daniel Liu ... Detective Richard Lu (as Dan Liu)
Jake Miller Jake Miller ... Jared
Taylor Momsen ... Jennifer
Lauren McKinney Lauren McKinney ... Macy
Scott Patrick Green Scott Patrick Green ... Scratch (as Scott Green)
John Michael Burrowes John Michael Burrowes ... Security Guard (as John 'Mike' Burrowes)
Grace Carter Grace Carter ... Alex's Mom
Jay 'Smay' Williamson Jay 'Smay' Williamson ... Alex's Dad
Christopher Doyle ... Uncle Tommy
Dillon Hines Dillon Hines ... Henry
Emma Nevins Emma Nevins ... Paisley
Brad Peterson Brad Peterson ... Jolt
Winfield Jackson Winfield Jackson ... Christian (as Winfield Henry Jackson)
Joe Schweitzer Joe Schweitzer ... Paul


The teenager and skateboarder Alex is interviewed by Detective Richard Lu that is investigating the death of a security guard in the rail yards severed by a train who was apparently hit by a skate board. While dealing with the separation process of his parents and the sexual heat of his virgin girlfriend Jennifer, Alex writes his last experiences in Paranoid Park with his new acquaintances and how the guard was killed, trying to relieve his feeling of guilty from his conscience. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some disturbing images, language and sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


According to Gus Van Sant, the first draft was written in only two days and the final draft came to be only 33 pages. See more »


When Alex goes to Rebel Skates he gets a board with white wheels. Later after the scene where Alex and Jennifer discusses to buy condoms, the board Alex carries is a different board with green wheels. Later he has the board with white wheels again. See more »


[first lines]
Alex: Oh. Hey Uncle Tommy.
Uncle Tommy: Hey.
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References Frankenstein (1931) See more »


Song 3
Written and Performed by Ethan Rose
Courtesy of Locust Media Ltd.
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User Reviews

Has both strengths and weaknesses
11 June 2008 | by JoeytheBritSee all my reviews

Gus Van Sant's ongoing exploration of the lot of disaffected teens continues with this slow, dreamlike study of a typical teenager (newcomer Gabe Nevins) whose life is thrown into emotional turmoil when he accidentally kills a security guard.

This film has a number of strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps its biggest strength is the commendable ordinariness of its teens; they could be your kids, your brother or sister, your friends, you; their every thought and action isn't predetermined by an overpowering desire to get laid, they're not prone to playing pranks on one another or their teachers, and they're not getting drunk or taking drugs at every opportunity. They have pointless conversations that go nowhere, the aspects of the world they consider unimportant are instinctively exiled to the edges of their consciousness and they are not yet infected with the overbearing urge to get on in life. Alex, the film's focal point, wanders aimlessly through his life, the impact of his accidental killing of a security guard barely monitoring on his blank features.

The film also wanders, also apparently aimlessly for much of its brief running time. Van Sant employs a non-linear chronology to tell his tale, a device that has very quickly become over-used and that, in most cases, adds little or nothing to the impact of the fractured story it describes. Here, scenes that don't make a lot of sense the first time we see them are replayed later on once the chronological gaps have been filled. It's like pieces of a jigsaw falling into place – but it also smells suspiciously of a director with not much material on his hands using every trick he can think of to elongate material that doesn't really add up to more than 45 minutes screen time. In addition to the same scenes playing twice, Van Sant also treats us to long (and frequent) slow motion sequences of nothing in particular: school-kids walking through their school's corridors, Alex's friend driving his car, kids at the eponymous skateboard park showing their stuff in grainy 8mm. It all adds a dreamy, detached feel to things that pulls you in with its mesmerising repetition in the same way that the fluent, alert sections of the mind might yield to some particularly strong grass, only without dulling the senses.

The isolation of all youth – from whatever generation – is succinctly captured in Alex's plight, the extremity of his situation perversely succeeding in pinpointing teen angst rather than generalising it. I can't really decide whether Nevins is terrific or just terrifically bad. His face is an impenetrable mask, almost permanently blank, and his lines are delivered in a monotone that captures the inflections (or lack of) of youth. All this might have been what he was told to do, or might just be the best he can muster in terms of acting ability. Either way, his character provokes responses that range from sympathy to exasperation in the viewer, which ultimately leave you wishing you could step inside the story to bang a few heads together and get things moving.

Fans of Van Sant will probably love this film, but very few neutral viewers will be converted to his style of movie-making.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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France | USA



Release Date:

24 October 2007 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Paranoid Park See more »


Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$29,828, 9 March 2008

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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