This freak show posing as a work of rebellious cinema is an official Dogme 95 production, endorsed by Dogma founder Lars von Trier (BREAKING THE WAVES) and shot on high definition video by Valdis Oskardottir CELEBRATION), using natural light and location sound. That's all very nice, but doesn't make it any less juvenile and pointless. Director Harmony Korine (GUMMO) went into production with a ten-page treatment rather than a script, and most of the film has the meandering feel of drama class improvisation. Julien (Ewan Bremner, the least attractive of
the TRAINSPOTTING leads) is the mentally challenged scapegoat in a monstrously dysfunctional family. His sister, Pearl (Chloe Sevigny), is pregnant with Julien's child; younger brother Chris (Evan Neumann) futilely dreams of a career in wrestling; their bullying father (German director Werner Herzog) wanders aimlesly around the house, pausing only to berate his children. He douses Chris with icy water on a winter day to "make him a man"; calls Pearl, who's learning the harp, a "dilettante and a slut" (in apparent order of importance); and tells Julien that someone as stupid as he
should slap his own face, which Julien proceeds to do. The film opens with Julien apparently smothering a local child in an argument over a turtle, and ends with him clutching Pearl's miscarried, almost full-term fetus beneath his rumpled bed sheets. In between, it's one long parade of epater le bourgeois images: masturbating nuns, Julien capering spastically in bra and panties, a party entertainer swallowing cigarettes, Julien's father wearing a gas mask and slugging cough syrup and an armless man doing card tricks with his toes. Who says the carny sideshow spirit is dead?
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- Released: 1999
- Rating: R
- Review: This freak show posing as a work of rebellious cinema is an official Dogme 95 production, endorsed by Dogma founder Lars von Trier (BREAKING THE WAVES) and shot on high definition video by Valdis Oskardottir CELEBRATION), using natural light and location s… (more)