Saturday, May 31, 2008

Mister Lonely: A quirk fest

What on Earth is this about?

Director Harmony Korine's latest quirk fest opens with Bobby Vinton's 1964 hit song Mister Lonely playing in the background while someone who looks like Michael Jackson, complete with surgical mask, aimlessly rides a mini-bike with a puppet-like object in tow.

(Quick quiz: what other Bobby Vinton hit provided the title of another very strange American movie? Answer at end of review.)

It doesn't get any clearer when we cut to scenes of nuns in sky-blue habits cavorting in a tropical country. A voice in the background comments, "I don't know if you know what it is like to want to be someone else, to not want to look like the way you look, to hate your own face ... I want to be better than myself, to become less ordinary and find some purpose in the world."

That voice, it turns out, belongs to the Michael Jackson impersonator on the mini-bike, played by the Mexican actor Diego Luna (Y tu mamá también).

We see him next in Paris, entertaining at an old folks' home and meeting a Marilyn Monroe impersonator (Samantha Morton).

She urges him to accompany her to a commune of impersonators who are living in a mansion in the Scottish highlands, "a special place, a place where everyone is famous."

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