Harmony Korine's eagerly awaited follow-up to the controversial Gummo has, on the whole, had a much warmer reception from the critics. It's less gratuitously shocking, 'more mature', I suppose, and then it carries with it the excitement of being the first American Dogma film (Korine used dozens of lightweight DV cameras to shoot it). It's with some reluctance then that I confess to a little disappointment. A jazzy free-associative cine poem about a dysfunctional family, headed by stern disciplinarian Werner Herzog, it's never less than fascinating, sometimes bizarrely funny, occasionally moving (Bremner is stunning as the schizophrenic Julien), but too much of it feels like improvisation in a vacuum. The vérité-like scenes out in the real world (mixing it up with a gospel congregation, or an armless magician, for example) have an edge the domestic scenes mostly miss. And then, I can't think of a director less in need of purgation than enfant terrible Korine. He's still the most exciting talent in American cinema, but this is two steps forwards, two steps back.
Cast and crew