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I don't care what anybody says, Gummo is a great movie. The nay sayers have
their points. If you think you'd share their opinion on a movie with no
plot, disturbing central characters and almost no point, then don't see it.
Gummo is a film that captures a certain time in a certain place with certain people. It's not trying to tell you a story or give you some moral at the end. It simply shows you these images, these people and says: "Look, this is what's happening behind our backs in America."
Despite the fact that the characters are hollow, amoral and almost emotionless in this movie, there's an inescapable sense of innocence in all of them. At times the movie is scary, at times it is funny.
... but it's great.
Remember when you were in grade school and the weird kids down the block
were doing something that looked, well, interesting, and your mom told you
to stay away? Did you? Did you ever wonder what it was they were up to
down there, behind the garage, in the basement of someone's house, over by
the bowling alley?
Rent Gummo and find out. Mama wasn't as stupid as you thought.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I am not entirely certain how to describe this film. It is aimless,
winding its way across the screen like the tornado that destroyed
Xenia. It is truly an unseemly picture. I loved it.
Gummo is the kind of film that draws you in with a visual aesthetic that is anything but. Even the goofy-looking kid on the front cover is harder not to stare at than found footage of Andy Warhol being pelted to death with Chambord-soaked Nerf balls. This was intentional; the director said that the adolescent playing "Bunny Boy" had a face he could never get tired of looking at. Gummo carries that intensity across the entire landscape.
The portrayal of mental illness in the lower echelons of society is genuine: Gummo is the first honest film I have seen in some time. The entire film is in bad taste; the scripted scene with the obviously-exploited hooker with Down Syndrome is enough to jolt the system into alertness, but there's an innocence to the scene as well. To be honest, I thought the boys were buying meth until certain details were revealed. That's how this film works: revelation.
The opening scene is a boy drowning a cat, something that most will find indefensible. It isn't real, people: this movie was made in America, after all. The prosthetic animals in this film are some of the best I have seen. Nothing is particularly superfluous about this film; it just is what it is. Anybody who takes issue with the treatment of cats in this film is either not paying attention closely, is drawn in to the realism of the work, or is just a person blinded by preferential treatment. Stray animals are one of the largest problems during a natural disaster; a wildfire last year in Colorado pushed more than 30,000 people from their homes and sent bears and other wildlife scurrying dangerously close to a downtown metropolitan area.
This movie is white trash, no doubt about it. Many documentaries fail to hit the mark struck by Gummo. I doubt I will see another film that shows what growing up or living in lower-class America is really like. I've lived it, and could only imagine such an undertaking with the help of a lot of friends and relatives.
There are treats to be found in this film, small glances at human behavior that otherwise are not readily seen without meeting people like these, yourself. There are other treats, unusual angles that take a second glance, or strange things in the background. There is bacon taped to a wall in a bathtub, in one scene, which Werner Herzog said "particularly moved" him. It was filmed in Nashville, claiming to be Ohio, but could take place in any backwater town in the country.
Gummo is worth it, and cannot be compared to any other movie. It set its own bar. Later films by other directors will mimic the style or content, such as Jonathan Caouette's film Tarnation's editing, but just like Tarnation, will completely fail to achieve the same product.
Gummo is garbage. I'd post about the plot but there isn't one. This isn't even a movie. I guess that if you are cool you will "get" this movie. At least that is what many of the earlier reviews hint at. Some people merely have to learn that "different", "shocking" or even "abstract" doesn't qualify a film as being good. Some reviewers struggle to give the impression that they are somehow more open minded than others. They are hip and get it. Sure. This movie stinks. If making fun of people with mental issues and animal cruelty makes a person or movie hip then as a society we may as well pack it in. Don't waste your time on this garbage. The lesson here is everything isn't art.
It pains me to say that I hate this movie, because I liked Julien
Donkey Boy alright, Korine's follow up effort. I also have great
admiration for Werner Herzog who was apparently blown away by the piece
of bacon taped to the wall in the bathroom near the end of the movie.
But even so, and with some admiration for the majority of Chloe Sevigny's work I found myself bored beyond belief. There is no plot in this movie, I know that is intentional and that is the point, but still without a plot I don't care. There is not even a slight resemblance of a plot anywhere. No characters you could even attempt to understand or sympathize with. I saw this movie twice because I read that Herzog liked it and I assumed I had somehow missed something. Suffered through it again to realize I even hated it more than I remembered.
Its hard to even review this film, nothing happens but a few strange occurrences, a kid works out to light weights, his mom gives some monologue. Its definitely a piece of rookie film-making, a big conglomeration of cheap short films.
What can I say? I saw the movie and it SUCKED beyond belief. The movie was disgusting, distasteful, and retarded. To sum it up, the movie made no sense what so ever. There was no plot, no story line, no direction, other that the sad display of how a whole freakin town of white trash could be retarded. And what in the world was up with the ending? Most movies either end with a conclusion, or leaving you wanting more, etc. But this movie did neither. It was almost like the power went out while filming. I'm not even white and I felt offended by the malicious stereotyping. When I read a summery about the moview prior to seeing it, I thought I would be watching a film about a small town struggling to recover from a terrible tornado. The tornado was mentioned once in the movie. There was no other reference to the tornado nor the after effects of a natural disaster. WTF???????!!!
Like the ambient post-rock music that accompanies sections of it, Gummo is
pretentious, long winded, ridiculously narrative-free, and utterly
brilliant. But don't take my word for it, because it really is a film that
needs to be seen before you can decide whether you'll like it or not. And
you don't hate it, you'll love it.
As you'll gather from all the other reviews, there is no narrative. There is no character development. There is no continuation. There is no theme. In large sections, there is no dialogue. It really is just a series of images that occasionally have words in them. It is, to some extent, the white trash, low budget version of Kooyanisqatsi.
The director, Harmony Korine, also wrote Kids. Kids had a storyline of sorts (at least in comparison with this), and the film focused on one reasonably small group of characters throughout. And yet, Kids is nothing compared to this. Kids is boring because nothing happens at all, and it's the same nothing throughout the entire film. Nothing happens in Gummo either, but watching the nothing can leave you glued to the screen sheerly because of the sense of nothingness. If you see what I mean.
So overall, it's a load of avant-garde rubbish with clever video techniques, that follows the nowhere lives of the residents of small town America. And it's mesmerising.
Whether you like this movie or not, you have to admit, it is certainly a one-of-a-kind motion picture that will never be forgotten once you've witnessed it. It is probably among one of the most shocking films you will ever see (right up there with "Salo" and "Sweet Movie") and some people (Gus Van Sant, for example) go so far as to call this movie "life-changing". I don't know if I'd go that far, but this movie definitely is a work of art that should be viewed by anyone with a taste for the unusual. It is certainly one of those movies that will make you think about its characters and their lives, possibly for days on end. Don't listen to any reviews-- good or bad-- just rent Gummo if you think a sick documentary-style picture about dirt-poor rednecks is your cup of tea...and prepare to be delightfully horrified.
Wow. Where to start....
I heard about this film at a party i was at several months ago. I was immediately interested when the guy started talking about the movie... he said something like "you wanna talk about kiddie porn? this movie has got teenage chicks who wanna be strippers jumping up and down on a bed."
I was hooked. I HAD to see Gummo.
About two weeks ago, i finally got a chance to rent it... and from the moment that i first heard that GOD-AWFUL song during the opening (that made me want to throttle the next rooster i ever saw) all the way to the beautifully poignant tornado footage at the end, i truly LOVED this film. And I'll tell you why.
This film has no plot. The cinematography is good, if not a bit sporadic. Most of the actual acting- as it were, is mediocre at best... the characters are believable, but they don't jump out of the film at you.... well, except for the film's mascot- the Bunny Boy.
So why do I love it? Start out with the last sentence I said.
The characters are BELIEVABLE. The fact that they don't jump off the screen at you is what MAKES them believable. These people could be anyone you or i knew, especially if you lived in a somewhat poor town in the midwest, like i did.
You're not going to like this movie if you look at it to be anything other than what it is- a BRILLIANT and accurate social commentary on the sad, but at times bittersweet condition of "white trash" America.
When I first watched this film I was put off by the gratuitous abuse of cats. But on the second and third viewing I just came to realize that is how kids are. Brutal in a deadpan way. I love the look of these people. I hate films that just pick outr the buff and finely chiseled featured types. Korine makes wonderful cinematic use of people who look like people, and aren't posing or primping. It would not have worked if Korine had brought in a lot of name actors and cinematic beauties. The story is well plotted, though often disturbing, it kept me watching. And going back to watch some scenes over again to catch what I imagine is inadvertent cinematic brilliance. And let's not forget the fab Linda Manz as Solomon's mom!! Woohoo!
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