You will be hearing much, much, much, much more from me about Mister Lonely in the coming weeks, but days after having finally seen it, I am still reeling. While many considered Harmony Korine to be a major artist on the basis of Gummo and Julien Donkey-Boy, I personally find Mister Lonely to be such an incomprehensibly gargantuan leap forward that I stand in utter awe of the new-and-improved Korine.
For me, what makes Mister Lonely so incredible is it's magical existence on a plane that is both fantastical and realistic. It sounds like just another punch line of a premise, but in execution, it is as personal as Azazel Jacobs' Momma's Man, albeit in a far more dazzling manner. This isn't a film about a kooky Michael Jackson impersonator and a statement on the buffoonery of celebrity worship in general. It is Korine's deeply personal meditation on his own troubled past and his quest to find peace within himself.
It should also be noted that what I find so exhilarating about Mister Lonely, as opposed to his earlier work, is Korine's ability to incorporate his multitudinous influences (Herzog, Denis, Fellini, Von Trier, Malick, etc.) yet deliver a work that feels wholly unique. Whereas in There Will Be Blood, I could feel Paul Thomas Anderson thinking, "This last scene is going to be just like Kubrick!", at no point did I feel Korine's influences overwhelming his own vision. And what a tender, sincere, lovely vision it is.
Mister Lonely is the work of a Major American Artist. I can't wait to see it on the big screen next weekend at the Sarasota Film Festival. I will be at the 2:30pm screening on Sunday. For those of you anywhere near Sarasota, or even if you're not near Sarasota, get here, because tomorrow night, the fun begins!