Mister Lonely *1/2
Directed by Harmony Korine
"Mister Lonely" is a pretty odd little movie-and I was quite intrigued by the premise, but I could never actually get into the film. I think maybe I wasn't the best audience for it, because quite the number of people in the crowd really enjoyed it. I've never been too into director Harmony Korine-he directed films like "Gummo," and "Julien Donkeyboy"-and this is really no exception. I wanted to see the film after I read the terrific plot summary in the program book-and you'll see what I mean in a second-but I watched "Mister Lonely" is a rather disappointing awe, getting the drift of what Korine was saying, but never really caring or getting interested in it.
"Mister Lonely" stars the very good Mexican actor Diego Luna as a man who isn't happy with the way he looks, or even the person that he is. So he lives his life as a Michael Jackson impersonator, and as far as they go he's the best, probably because he lives his life as the man. He ends up meeting a Marilyn Monroe impersonator-played well by Samantha Morten-and she convinces him to go with her to and island with several others who live their lives as others. She is married to a man that lives his life as Charlie Chaplin-once he was Buster Keaton-and their daughter lives her life as Shirley Temple. Others on the island are James Dean, Sammy Davis Jr, Abe Lincoln, and the Queen of England. They are working on a building where they can preform what they dub "the greatest show on earth," and they celebrate their lives as others together, until drama begins to unfold.
There is another side plot with documentary filmmaker Werner Herzog as an airplane pilot, and a side message about nuns jumping out of a plane, believing that there will be a safe landing when they get to the bottom. I really have pondered a connection between the story of the impersonators and the story of the nuns and Herzog, but I still can't make it. It must be there. I can give strong credit to Korine for making a rather creepy atmosphere in certain parts of the film. I don't know if it was intentional, but scenes like Michael first going into the house where everyone lives while they all dance around him, or anything relating the Chaplin guy when he gets angry, certainly did give the creeps. Not on a horror creep level, but certainly on a rather disturbing level. And I can really see what he is saying about identity and hiding yourself with the mask of another person. I see the emotion, but the whole film just did not work for me. I never got into it, and whenever it did start to peak by interest it would delve into several minutes of almost nothingness and it lost me again. But I can see fans of Kovine's earlier work liking this movie, but it certainly wasn't for me. It's one of those examples where there is a rather ingenious storyline and a pretty neat world of characters to delve into, but the movie just disappointed me.