It's beginning to look a lot like Hallowe'en...part 11: Mister Lonely
Okay so it isn’t a horror, but when the film centers around a commune where all it’s members are full time costume-donning imitators of pop figures present and past and live in a huge castle, I think it qualifies as being in the spirit of Hallows Eve. There’s even a creepy hanging at one point. The first hour or so of the movie are sidesplitting; with a classic scene of our Michael Jackson wanna be at an old folks home leading them in a call response of MJ yelps and ‘Never Die!’ and a great turn by Werner Herzog as an aero-priest. When we begin with Michael we see the smiles and laughter he can provoke in spectators, but it soon becomes clear that he cannot build nor sustain any meaningful relationships; when asked if he likes Paris he replies “no, not really”. Once surrounded by fellow fake-celebs he finds it easier to open up, etc. as the place really functions as a big support group, hidden away in ‘the highlands’ away from the general public. The commune of impersonators in action is something to be seen; a unique perspective on the effects of popular culture. The emphasis on aesthetic by big media, the glorification of image and so on, has made this cast of misfits completely uncomfortable in their own skin and their appearances, so much so that they only have confidence when they imitate figures whose narratives have already been established, whose identities are fully formed and are instantly recognizable to the general public. The strongest scenes of the film are the slow, hard, pastoral duties shouldered by recognizable symbols of wealth and glory; such as a potty mouthed Abe Lincoln, screaming profanities at James Dean and Sammy Davis Jr. to guide the sheep “down the fucking hill!’ back into their pen. While the film is slightly uneven in the closing half hour or so, and rushes towards a resolution, it never loses its bittersweet effectiveness. Fairly strong performances all around, and while Werner Herzog and his nuns might seem added-on at the last minute, I loved every minute of it. It’s quickly becoming my favourite 'dramedy' since The Royal Tenenbaums. So if you need a break from horror but don’t want to lose the halloween spirit, I urge you to check it out.