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Movie Review: 'Gummo' (1997) Who deserves the pity: the dead-eyed feral young people in this brattily repellent, hell-bent-for-shock collection of vignettes about the perils of boredom in suburban America… PG-13 Drama Harmony Korine Chloë Sevigny
Movie Review

Movie Review: 'Gummo' (1997)

MPAA Rating: PG-13

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EW's GRADE
F

Details Rated: PG-13; Genre: Drama; With: Harmony Korine

Who deserves the pity: the dead-eyed feral young people in this brattily repellent, hell-bent-for-shock collection of vignettes about the perils of boredom in suburban America — or the moviegoers who think, ''Wow, this stuff is fierce''? I vote for the audience. Pushing the trendy agenda with which he grabbed his fame as the scripter of Kids — that the kids are definitely not all right, and Mom and Dad have blown it — 23-year-old writer-director Harmony Korine ups the gross-out ante here. Mixing up visual styles and film and video stocks in homage (homage?) to betters including Leos Carax and Diane Arbus, Korine trots out a collection of miserable pint-size humans, including boys who murder cats, another who drags around town in costume bunny ears, some lost girls, and a loser (Korine himself) who puts sex moves on a dwarf. There's unhappy coupling, there's casual killing (the kids disconnect a comatose old woman from her respirator), there's gratuitous sadism and filthy bathwater. But there's no artistic or thematic point — except maybe to demonstrate that a young filmmaker is as much in need of someone to say no as the characters in this disingenuous exercise. F

Originally posted Oct 31, 1997 Published in issue #403 Oct 31, 1997 Order article reprints