I find Gummo's disperse narrative tough to value as a whole, but the writing, directing, and overall artistic value displayed in the film are brutally effective and deeply thoughtful.
I had always heard this was one of the most messed up movies ever made, and I also saw it repeatedly compared to Breathless so it's actually pretty unacceptable that it took me this long to watch it.
The Godard comparison mostly comes from the semi-improvised way that the movie was shot (a lot of the movie is shot on hand held), and in the jumpiness of the editing. But when it comes to the way that ideas are being presented there's a pretty big difference. Harmony creates this very strange trashy poetry that the world within Gummo operates on. Characters tend to be very blunt, and ignorant of the morals of their actions. Its kind of an anti-Slingblade where poverty and mental illness are shown in the most disturbing ways possible, and there's no resolution in sight. The movie slips into almost exploitational snuff film levels of depravity, sometimes played for laughs (there's a pretty great scene where a very drunk Harmony Korine tries to flirt with a midget), but more often than not it's just there to make you feel sick.
But this flick is not just a series of random unpleasant scenes, its chaos has a purpose: it creates a particular atmosphere, one that is difficult to shake loose. Many people might not like this film, as I said before, but not because it is astoundingly bad(yes, there will be those who will dismiss it because it does not meet their tastes, but this is next to irrelevant), but because the film is difficult to sit though.
However, if you think about "Gummo", you you take one step away from it, see it clearly, it resembles a lot with poetry and perhaps this is the best way to look at it.
Harmony Korine takes the viewer in places he does not want to be and offers characters he might not want to meet, but this incursion reaches some strange emotional notes by the time the credits roll.
Like "Pink Flamingos', "El Topo", "Eraserhead", a rating system does not apply in Gummo's case either(I gave a rating because RT doesn't let me post that otherwise).
More arbitrary than visionary, Gummo is a collage of controversial clips and muffled voiceovers; some of which are interesting, others of which are just jarring.
The film gives off a shaky sense of realism and follows some potentially interesting characters, but Korine's picture is essentially devoid of any real meaning beneath its revelry in the exploitation of impoverished and slightly odd-looking Americans.
Meandering, maddening and ultimately empty, it comes to something when a film's finest moment is a kid dropping a Crunchie bar in a dirty bathtub.
The weak point of 'Gummo' is perhaps the lack of linkage between the individual stories (with exception of the dead cats) which makes the individual characters the only thing about the film. Music should have feature more throughout the movie and perhaps a bit more social-historical contextualisation, through the tornado story, would have rendered 'Gummo' a little more entertaining rather than just a ruthless mix of harsh scenes that really tests one's level of acceptance for a film.
I am always a big fan of stories about 'real' people; in the case of 'Gummo' real people may have feature, but the story was not quite there. Good effort, nevertheless.
If you like big Hollywood movies like Transformers,etc..you should probably pass on this one.
So the story is about a young boy named Solomon , who had to suffer with devastation after his hometown of Xenia, Ohio was hit by a heartbreaking hurricane. It focuses on 3 main characters: Bunny Boy, Solomon and Tummler. Then the rest of this film talks about how these boys do certain things to help time pass by like huffing glue, making out with teenage girls, getting involved with child molesters and committing signs of animal cruelty to cats. So basically, they go through the processes of growing up and understanding the meaning of grown up life.
Like I said before, I was very impressed by the fact that the film incorporates different characteristics of grown up people like getting pregnant andhaving true affection for someone. Also it takes notice of certain syndromes like Asbergers and Down Syndrome. Having friends who are diagnosed with these syndromes, I felt that there should be a film where things like this are maturely discussed. I felt betrayed by the way that the film portrayed such issues, as if it were to say that people who suffer with these kind of disorders are just messed up. I didn't like the childish tone and instead of the film being moving, it scared me and gave an unsettling tone throughout. If there were 1 thing that I thought was averagely good was the actor who played Solomon: he was pretty much the only person in the film that shows raw devastation and emotion. The rest of the film however is highly mediocre and bland.