Prince Avalanche (2013) - My Explanation of the Film and Its Ending

Prince Avalanche (2013) movie explained
Recently, I decided to rewatch a little known 2013 movie entitled Prince Avalanche, starring Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch, about two highway road workers (one younger and one older) who spend the summer working together, away from their usual city lives. It's a strange and somewhat confusing movie, part comedic and part dramatic, that isn't very well understood by most who watch it. After finishing my rewatch of it, I recalled a post I'd made on the IMDb message boards giving my own interpretation of what the film could possibly mean. Sadly, however, those message boards are now gone. So I've decided to archive my explanation here today. Enjoy!


As someone else mentioned on here, I believe that Alvin and Lance may be the same person. Yet, I also believe that the Truck Driver may be the same person as them as well. Each one representing the different ups and downs in one road workers adult life.

Here are a few things that have led me to believe this as at least a feasible theory:

• All three men dressed in the same uniform.

• The trucker has bad memories of going into town to "meet a lady" when he was young and having her eventually leave with his child; just as may possibly happen with the lady Lance met and impregnated.

• Lance is inexperienced in his job, still enthused about having a good time and somewhat optimistic, even though he knows he's getting older and has responsibilities ahead of him; Alvin is more comfortable in his job, still hopeful but missing some of his spark; and the trucker may be them in their final stage, where the job is just second nature and love lost (through both the woman who ran off with his child, and the old woman and children he lost in the fire) has made him into a lonely, sad, somewhat cynical (yet contemplative) alcoholic.

• Alvin "plays house" in the old woman's burned down home. This could have been the truckers home with the old woman and the three children we see at the end of the film (Alvin's future home and family?) and when we see Alvin pretending to live a life there, we could be being shown what it was really like for the trucker when he lived there during happier times.

• Along with The Truckers advice about women and apparently superior knowledge about roadwork, he's said things that may be perceived as hints that he's what Lance and Alvin have to look forward to in their future; such as handing Lance alcohol, saying "this will get you through the toughest part," and "I'll see you down the road."

• During Lance and Alvin's arguments (which they both dealt with their separate women's issues in the same withdrawn-then-lashing out ways) the criticisms they direct toward each other could be seen as criticisms they're both directing at their future and past selves (i.e. Lance talking about how Alvin's always struggling with himself, and Alvin talking about how immature, undisciplined, and incapable of being alone Lance is).

• There are tiny possible hints, such as Alvin having foreknowledge of how bad Lance actually dances, them both having read the same pamphlet in school, and how all three (Lance, Alvin, and the trucker) seem to share the same taste in booze.

• Alvin tries to push Lance into having a child because it's the greatest thing that could happen to someone like him.

• Alvin thought that his job would be good for him and his girlfriend and that it would make him a better person. Lance, now knowing he has a child on the way, hinted that he may be heading down that same direction during his conversation with Alvin after their night of drinking (Alvin even tells Lance that what he's doing is a "good person thing to do").

• During the end of the film, Alvin asks the trucker if he would treat the old woman good if she were in the truck with him. When The Trucker replies positively, Alvin gets an excited look on his face as if he knows that he still has that happiness and that love to look forward to in the future.

• The title alone appears to be a phonetic amalgam of the names Alvin and Lance, perhaps symbolic of them being the same person: Avalanche. Also, to steal something I read in a previous post, in the final scene before the end montage, Alvin asks the old lady -- in German -- if she would like to join him and Lance on their "adventure." According to the English subtitle, that is. Alvin's German being far from perfect, he ever so briefly --but visibly-- struggles to recall the proper word for adventure, and mistakenly chooses "Lawine" instead of "Abenteuer." Lawine is German for "avalanche". While the subtitle helpfully corrects his mistake, Alvin actually asks, translated verbatim: "Would you like to join our avalanche?" This may signify not only that Alvin and Lance are sharing the same "avalanche" of life, but also that the old woman is going to be eventually joining them in the adventure that is their life.

I know some of this (or, hell, maybe most) may be far fetched and full of holes, but so far it's the theory of the film I've found myself the most enjoying. So I figured I'd share.

(moviechat.org has preserved many of IMDb's forum records, where you can find the original thread for this discussion by clicking here.)

To purchase Prince Avalanche on Blu-ray, check out the Amazon link below.