Movie Magazine International


USA - 1998

Movie Review By Blue Velvet

Taken by Harmony Korine's screenplay of the brilliant film "Kids," mega-company Fine Line Features lauded Harmony complete artistic control over his directorial debut called "Gummo." Harmony hauled a production crew over to Xenia, Ohio, a tiny backward town scarred by a tornado which hit in the 1970's. With super 8 footage and many hand held camera shots, Harmony creates an odd surreal world of freakish teenagers in the claustophobic broken town. Possessing a punk-like credo, "Gummo" scatters a mosaic of bizarre disjointed scenes that will leave audiences either in unnerving disgust or twisted fascination.

A story barely lives underneath the bizarre crazed footage as the camera sometimes follows the lives of two teenage guys in their listless hardcore pastimes. Besides sniffing glue and killing cats to buy more glue, the guys apathetically jet around town on their BMX bikes, bereft of passion or emotion as they commit further crimes. A strange array of other teens and off-kilter adults generate a vortex of random violence, pathetic rituals, and curious sexuality.

While not the anticipated blockbuster Fine Line had hoped for, "Gummo" possesses a rebellioius unique controversial appeal that no other director could and perhaps would want to achieve. Esteemed in international circles, Harmony screams an anti-mainstream bold style which "Gummo's" cinematographer Frenchman Jean Yves Escoffier brazenly adores. During a shoot in an infested hovel, every production person wore protective jumpsuits except for Escoffier and Harmony who wore speedos and thongs.

For whatever reasons you see "Gummo," prepare yourself to be shocked by squeamishly creative vignettes from the bowels of Harmony's cranium. Watching those poetically haunting characters slumming around with lackluster concern may leave you feeling anything but unaffected.

© 1998 - Blue Velvet - Air Date: 05/20/98

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