Fitting tribute

PUBLISHED: 15:42 12 March 2008 | UPDATED: 17:10 16 August 2010

MISTER LONELY Cert 15 IT S fair to say that director Harmony Korine has produced some of the most unusual and unsettling films of recent years.


Cert 15

IT'S fair to say that director Harmony Korine has produced some of the most unusual and unsettling films of recent years.

In 1997's structureless portrait of backwater America Gummo, he filmed groups of hillbillies sniffing glue, shooting cats with airguns and wrestling chairs while completely drunk. Julien Donkey-Boy, a hallucinogenic depiction of a schizophrenic New Yorker played by Ewan Bremner which came two years later, was stranger still. Now, following an eight-year lay-off in which he checked in and out of rehab multiple times, split up with his actress girlfriend Chloe Sevigny and burnt down two of his own houses, the former enfant terrible of American independent cinema, now 35, returns with another unfathomably weird offering.

A Michael Jackson tribute performer (Diego Luna) is invited to a commune in the Scottish Highlands, populated entirely by celebrity impersonators, by a fake Marilyn Monroe (Samantha Morton) he meets while busking on the streets of Paris.

Once at the commune, Michael meets a host of other characters including, among others, Marilyn's husband Charlie Chaplin (Denis Lavant), the Pope (James Fox), James Dean (Joespeh Morgan) and Madonna (Melita Morgan). The commune's future is put at risk when while preparing for a show they are putting on for a nearby town they discover all of their sheep are ill.

Meanwhile, somewhere in the jungles of Panama, a maverick priest (Werner Herzog) is talking nuns into testing their faith by jumping from a plane without parachutes.

The film is surprisingly light in tone, given the long list of catastrophic events in Korine's personal life since his last film, and is packed with witty observations which are as sharp as they are arch.

It may be near impossible to fathom what Korine actually intended when making this but the film remains an intriguingly skewed look at the varying issues of identity, the cult of celebrity and faith in a higher power and has too many astute touches for its creator to be dismissed as a simple crackpot.

* Mister Lonely opens in cinemas on March 14.

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