Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Gummo (1997)

Director: Harmony Korine
Writer:    Harmony Korine
Cast:       Nick Sutton, Jacob Sewell, Lara Tosh

Lonely residents of a tornado-stricken Ohio town wander the deserted landscape trying to fulfill their boring, nihilistic lives. The loose narrative follows several main characters who find odd and destructive ways to pass time, interrupted by vignettes of other denizens of the town. 

Gummo marked the directorial debut for Harmony Korine and the only other film I have seen of his is 'Spring Breakers'. I didn't like Spring Breakers even though it got some sort of critical success. I get that it is meant to be a portrayal of some obnoxious characters but it doesn't help if you find the acting by most of the actors in it to be below-par. That is what you get when you've people like Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez in the film. Then again  if you see the film as a meta-look at the careers of people like them, it kind of works but that doesn't make it any better to watch. But you got to admit it is really a mad mad film with some exquisite shots, like that twilight piano scene. 

So I didn't have much hopes with Gummo but decided to watch it to see if I missed something with Spring Breakers. It is like an anti-film with the director trying to go against all conventions. The characters that it portrays are the ones which most other films don't take a look at and I was reminded of the fringe poor characters from 'True Detective'. I didn't find it interesting in any way whatsoever and watching it was a masochistic exercise. Compared to Spring Breakers, the acting in it looked genuine even though most of them are local non-actors and that could very well be its only saving grace. Some of it is darkly funny but most of it is just plain boring.  At least, Harmony Korine is not romanticizing poverty in America.

Overall it is quite a difficult watch and you need to go there only if you're interested in the director's filmography for some reason. Film was done with a budget of $1 million and didn't make much money on its release but have gained a cult following subsequently with the likes of Werner Herzog being a fan. Korine's next film is titled 'The Trap' and it is supposed to have Al Pacino, Idris Elba, Robert Pattinson, James Franco and Benicio Del Toro. I must be really missing something here.

Rating: 2/5