Director: Mark Gibson
Screenwriters: Mark Gibson

Institute History

  • 2000 Sundance Film Festival


For all the creative freedom supposedly in independent film, relatively few filmmakers take advantage of that autonomy to produce truly original and risk-taking work. That is why it’s so exhilarating to experience Mark Gibson’s Lush, which blends genres as diverse as romantic comedy and film noir in a picaresque tale as inventive as it is ambitious.

Campbell Scott plays Lionel “Ex” Exley, the film version of archetypal rogue adventurer in the mold of a Don Quixote or Tom Jones, who has managed to drink his way off the PGA Tour. After a short stop in prison for accompanying transgressions, he makes way his back to his original habitat, New Orleans. There, after retrieving his clubs from his ex-caddie and renting seedy digs in a crummy St. Charles Street hotel, Lionel pals up with a persistently suicidal lawyer, W. Firmin Carter (Jared Harris), and begins a dedicated drinking binge that takes him to fancy soirees, country club lunches, and jazzy dives down by the railroad tracks.

The wild ride doesn’t end until his new-found buddy Firmin has disappeared, and Lionel is suspected of engineering his demise. In this complicated and at times fragmented film, Gibson has fabricated a fictional universe that’s full of byways and side streets, peopled by a collection of characters drawn from a myriad of sources and allusions. Weaving toward its wildly inventive final denouement, Lush reminds you that the limits of cinematic imagination are too often self-imposed.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details


As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]