Wednesday, July 21, 2010
I'm a fan of Werner Herzog, and in Harmony Korine's troubling film Herzog gets to ham it up in front of the camera. Typically he does so in his own documentaries, but here he's playing the father of the schizophrenic main character, based on Korine's real-life uncle, and we get to see him "act" in a bit of fiction for a change.
Herzog wears a gas mask and dances to blue grass. He drinks cough syrup from a slipper. He tells his sons they aren't manly enough, and demands they wear his dead wife's dresses. He tells a long story about a talking canary.
But aside from Herzog's playfulness, the film is interestingly shot and quite moving. Despite the shocking violence of the film's opening, Julien is a sympathetic character, trapped in his mania and only occasionally able to interact on the same plane as the other members of his family. The acting is quite good: Ewen Bremner steals the show, and Chloe Sevigny is typically on point.