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Julien Donkey-Boy back to product details

Gripping, the Whole Way Through
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written by JMVerville October 19, 2004 - 7:14 AM PDT
4 out of 6 members found this review helpful
I found this film to be very interesting and gripping, especially the role of Julien's father played by Werner Herzog. The film lures one in from the very beginning, and keeps you interested until the very end. I felt as if everything from the acting to the soundtrack, to the filming was creative, original, and capturing.

Korine really shows here what can be done with film when he pushes the limits -- and in so pushing the limits he still comes up with a very good film that I feel is better than his first (Gummo). Not only is the film a sort of commentary on mental illness and differences in general, but it is also an infinitely intriguing film.

What stands out about this film is that through its' often very surreal experiences you can often find greater bits of reality in it; I felt that the film embraced a sense of total freedom that one needs for it really to be Art, but still had a concise guidance that made it very viewable and entertaining at the same time. This is a film that truly keeps your interest from start to finish.

I WANTED TO SHUT IT OFF BUT I COULDN'T STOP WATCHING IT
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written by stypee April 28, 2004 - 12:02 AM PDT
10 out of 11 members found this review helpful
Harmony Korine has issues, what they are, I have no idea and what this is, well, it's a masterpiece unsettled by borderline realism. The first of the "dogme 95" manifesto films "Julien Donkey-Boy" follows the world of a schizophrenic man and his perverse family. Werner Herzog plays the father who does such an extradionary job that you literally feel like you're watching a documentary. The man is locked in this cocoon he calls a home which he never leaves. He forces his family to perform strange and perverted acts. In an attempt to re-live the memory of his dead wife, he asks one of his sons to wear a dress and even offers to pay him ten dollars (in which the son thankfully refuses).

The daughter is pregnant and appears to be the only "with it" of the family, tricking her mentally handicapped brother into believing his dead mother is alive through telephone conversations.

Story really isn't what Korine seems to be looking for here. "Julien" feels like a visual puzzle on some sort of illegal substance. There are scenes that don't fit together and moments that are there to promote either a sense of irony or really dark humor. There's one lingering sequence that appears common until we (the audience) realize that it's literally blind people bowling, they're swinging the balls around left and right but somehow, through their senses arrange to actually hit some pins or at most get the ball rolling on the lane. This leaves us to wonder, is this a joke or are we really that ignorant to believe it's not possible for a blind person to bowl?

"Julien Donkey Boy" has a point but you're forced to search for it or take it like a piece written by Samuel Beckett, he didn't want you to know what it was, he didn't want you to study it, he wanted it to "exist". It's hard to watch technically since the film is shot in practical light on what appears high speed film and sometimes nauseating camera movements.

Korine created a piece of art here with a strange and unsettling message.


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(Average 6.35)
170 Votes
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