•Andy•’s review published on Letterboxd:
Harmony Korine's "Gummo" goes well out of it's way to shock, offend and provoke a reaction, there's a handful of disturbing scenes throughout and almost every frame has something, or someone, strange to gawp at. The soundtrack, visual style and set design all combine to make this film a very unique watch, if you can get past the oddities and the animal abuse.
There's not really a plot that runs through the movie, it feels more like Korine's taking you on a tour of this town, showing you it's residents and what they get up to. There's also a lot of eerie home-video footage intercut throughout, which helps make the film feel more authentic. The character's themselves are all strange and memorable, with Sol from the poster and the Bunny Boy being the most iconic. Watch the movie at your own risk, I'd say it is slightly exploitative and it handles subjects like rape, disability, racism and pretty much anything else you can think of without much care for political correctness.
The movie's always grounded in reality, but it manages to feel very surreal due to almost everything in it being out-of-the-ordinary for most people. Even it's soundtrack is one of the strangest mash-ups of music I've heard, going from the sludgy sounds of Sleep in one scene, to the upbeat tones of 1950s Buddy Holly in another. There's also a lot of satanic imagery throughout, including the opening title's font and the long, thin upside down cross, but it all fits with the soundtrack and nihilistic tone of the movie.
Korine was clearly trying to shock people with this, if not offend, but that didn't stop him from making a good movie and it works really well despite it's lack of narrative or plot. Everything that goes into the movie reflects the aimlessness and frustration's of its characters, making for a very bleak, hopeless watch. The bath scene is equal parts revolting and fascinating, especially considering this is the character’s norm, but at least it means he's not out brutalising cats.