Eye For Film >> Movies >> Julien Donkey-Boy (1999) Film Review
Reviewed by: Nicholas Dawson
"When you're born different, some things are good, some things are bad."
Harmony Korine's follow-up to his controversial Gummo, focuses on the eponymous Julien (Ewen Bremner), a schizophrenic helper at a blind school, and his bizarre family: brash father, pregnant sister and would-be wrestler brother, played by Werner Herzog, Chloe Sevigny, Evan Neumann. The film, like Gummo, has been equally loved and loathed by the critics. I adored it.
Although it is not an official Dogme 95 film, Julien Donkey-Boy was made to Dogme rules, with Lars von Trier and co.'s restraints and Korine's free-flowing cinema here finding joyous union. The film is a beautiful elegy on being different. It looks different - stunningly so. The innovative camera editing techniques used echo perfectly the feel of the film.
The almost unrecognisable Ewen Bremner, an actor come of age, gives a towering performance as 'King' Julien, the legendary Werner Herzog proves just why he is legendary in an amazingly funny and genuine performance, and Chloe Sevigny brings beautiful subtlety and warmth to the part of Pearl.
Stylistically, intellectually and emotionally the film is complete. Korine disgusts and charms us in one movement, distresses us and makes us laugh, shows us sweet absurdity and grinding reality. This wonderful piece of freakshow cinema is the first great film of the 21st century.Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001