Bizarre and boring, Harmony Korine’s Mister Lonely lacks direction. Despite its serious problems, Korine manages to create beautiful shots, making the cinematography one of the only elements that works in the film.
The film follows two stories. One is of a Michael Jackson impersonator (Diego Luna), who is out of place in his home in Paris when a Marilyn Monroe impersonator (Samantha Morton) persuades him to join her commune full of other celebrity impersonators. Michael is soon integrated into the life of the commune with Charlie Chaplin, Madonna, James Dean and others.
The second story-line follows a Catholic priest (played by Werner Herzog) and nuns who are on a mission trip in Africa.
There is little to be said about the plot. The two stories in the film are only related through characters trying to find meaning in life, but there’s almost no point in combining them. Had the film included the two stories equally, the outcome might have been different, but Michael’s story greatly overpowers the priest’s.
Luna, though a good actor in most of his films, obviously doesn’t fit the part. He doesn’t do well in the role of a Michael Jackson impersonator – it’s almost painful to see him prance around doing silly dance moves. Though Morton’s Marilyn works perfectly physically, the chaos of the film makes her acting lose poignancy. Herzog’s character is impressive but unfortunately underused.
Some scenes are brilliantly shot; the colors are fresh and the shots are minimal and unconventional, with no Hollywood influence. Other scenes are just terrible – at one point, Michael looks into eggshells he painted with the faces of his impersonator “family” and the faces begin to sing and talk to him.
Mister Lonely is inconsistent and deceptive. It seems to have the potential of a great indie film, but it fails in its distractedness. However, with some epic scenes of beauty, the film is worthy of some acknowledgement.