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Review: The Beach Bum – Director: Harmony Korine

7:10PM Screening at Imagine Cinemas

Theatre Service: 8.5/10

Projection: 10/10

The Beach Bum 1 hrs 35 mins

The follow-up film to “Spring Breakers” from Harmonie Korine draws you in from the moment Moondog (McConaughey) finds that kitten on the Florida boardwalk.

The film deceivingly felt like longer than the run-time due to the unclear direction of Moondog’s life and his lack of motivation. The viewer is brought along for a ride but is never sure when they’ll get off, much like Moondog himself.

Moondog is an unpredictable protagonist that drags the viewer through a few months in his life as he tries to finish his latest book. Moondog brings us through his highest of highs and to his lowest of lows, but even as he says, he has to get low to get high.

Korine is breaking new ground with how to tell a scene, using multiple locations simultaneously to tell a single conversation. At times it was used for comedic effect and at other times it almost feels like looking back on a foggy memory, being unsure of exactly where or how it happened.

Editing is fantastic and stands out, but the pacing of the overall story suffers because its main focus is the individual tableaus not necessarily the story’s overarching tale.

This would be a very boring and uneventful story if not told through Moondog’s perspective. If the film was a normal point-A to point-B scenario it probably wouldn’t succeed as well as it did. At times we are lead by Moondog, but there are many times where Moondog sits back to let the others in his life lead the way and he’s just along for the journey.

The cinematography of the film was absolutely stunning, Benoit Debie used 35mm film to its full potential with gorgeous colours and surreal sunsets. Every single scene had such an incredibly focused shooting style, drenching the nightlife in neons and painting the more realistic scenes with naturalistic flares. So many scenes left us with dropped jaws and surprisingly the most beautiful shot was saved for the final shot of the film. Korine and Debie have an incredible cinematic relationship that has created some of our favorite frames to date.

The plot of the film is thin when comparing it to a traditional classical-paradigm story; however, that drives home the point that your material goods, your dependable limp-dick husband, and millions of dollars in cash don’t complete you.

In the end you come to realize that although most wouldn’t believe that Moondog has his life together, mentally he is more put together than the majority out there. Moondog is sort of an inspiring public figure that has found a way to enjoy the only life he was given in the ways he finds most fun, with beautiful women, laughter and being high as a kite.

Many could argue that he doesn’t get repercussions for all his actions but we argue that maybe that is the point. Maybe Moondog is just one of many in this world that gets away with doing some illegal, immoral, and reckless things; not everyone gets caught for every bad thing that they do. In addition, most of these situations simply involve Moondog as a participant instead of the instigator.

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Jonah Hill, Zach Efron, Isla Fischer, Matthew McConaughey, Snoop Dogg, Martin Lawrence – casting was incredible. The acting was the stand out element of the film. Each actor looked like they were having so much fun getting lost in these crazy characters. The relationships they build are realistic and heartfelt, heightened by the constant influence of drugs; the genuine chemistry between characters makes you want to laugh along with them. McConaughey walks a staggered path between not knowing where he’s going and being exactly where he needs to be, and is able to hit the highest highs and lowest lows with a sloppy perfection that shapes the film.

Standout comedic scenes were the pink fluorescent weed room, the sex scene in the bar kitchen, Moondog and the pilot walking through the street with a wheelbarrow full of weed all of which increase the re-watch value upon leaving the theatre.

In one sentence “The Beach Bum” is the story about how the words were written, not about what was written.

 

 

>> 8.5/10 <<

Pacing: 6.5/10

Editing: 9/10

Plot: 8.5/10

Acting: 9/10

Cinematography: 9.5/10

Re-watch-ability: 8.5/10

Soundtrack: 8.5/10 (12 if you love Jimmy Buffet)