Mister Lonely

There is point during Mister Lonely where it actually feels like it's all going to make sense. Harmony Korine's typically eccentric film jumps between his main story — the relationships between a group of celebrity impersonators in the Scottish Highlands — and the eccentric subplot about a nun and a parachute-free miracle above a South American jungle. So what's the connection? Absolutely no idea. The two strands don't connect in any way, shape or form: but hey, it's Harmony Korine, so you always suspected that they wouldn't. The man behind, ahem, esoteric films such as Gummo and Julien Donkey-Boy reckons both strands 'speak to the same desire of faith and obsession' which is, frankly, bollocks. However, if you can put the director's inevitable pretention aside (and assuming you can face sitting in a cinema with annoying art students talking loudly about his 'ouevre'), then there are some pleasures to be found here.

The biggest of these would be Diego Luna's central performance. He plays 'Michael Jackson', a crotch-grabbing, yelping tribute act struggling to make a Euro on the streets of Paris. At a show in a retirement home, Michael meets, and soon falls for, a Mariln Monroe lookalike played by Samantha Morton. She suggests that Michael should leave Paris and, instead, move to Scotland and the commune of lookalikes where she and her husband, a Charlie Chaplin impersonator, live. When he arrives, he finds instant acceptance alongside The Pope (Fox), The Queen (Pallenberg), Sammy Davis, Jr., Madonna, The Three Stooges and assorted others, and the early preparations for the commune's first ever gala performance. And while all of this is happening, there's a miracle going on somewhere above Latin America...

The pleasures are mostly to be found in the innocence of Luna's performance, the return of the impeccable Samantha Morton and the interaction between the impersonators. There is genuine charm here, and you can't help but wish that Korine would drop all the student posturing and just make an accessible film. The kid's clearly got talent to burn, but is stuck in this world of the self-consciously arty. Harmony, repeat after us: selling tickets doesn't have to mean selling out.

Mister Lonely at IMDb

Neil Davey is a freelance writer who specialises in things you can do sitting down, such as travelling, eating, drinking, watching films, interviewing famous people and playing video games. (And catching the occasional salmon.) Neil is the author of two Bluffer's Guides (Chocolate, and Food, both of which make lovely presents, ahem), and, along with Stuart O'Connor, is a co-founder of Screenjabber. Neil also writes / has written for The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, Square Mile, Delicious Magazine, Sainsbury's Magazine, Foodism, Escapism, Hello! and Square Meal.

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