After a number of years in a number of wildernesses, Tennessee wild-boy Harmony Korine is 35 and back with his clear-eyed third directorial venture, “Mister Lonely.” While Korine’s first two features, “Gummo” and “Julien Donkey-Boy,” trafficked in transgression as well as occasional images of startling beauty and surprising absurdity, “Mister Lonely” seeks a statelier plane, with widescreen framings and lingering takes that sup at landscape and faces. Diego Luna plays Paris’ loneliest Michael Jackson impersonator; one day he meets a Marilyn Monroe (Samantha Morton) who invites him to a commune in the Scottish highlands where she lives with her husband, Charlie Chaplin (Denis Lavant), the Three Stooges, Sammy Davis, Jr., The Queen (Anita Pallenberg), a Tourettic Abe Lincoln (Richard Strange) and Little Red Riding Hood (Korine’s wife, Rachel Simon). Most striking may be James Fox’s “dirty Pope,” whose features I could watch for days. A parallel narrative, linked only thematically, finds a priest in Central America teaching nuns how to fly, jumping from his supply plane. Several of the images from this strand, one involving a bicycle and another at film’s end, are simply thrilling, and less studied than the book-ended extreme-slow-motion images of Luna on a tiny stunt motorcycle. Many will take “Mister Lonely” as another Korine ode to post-adolescent male self-pity, but he finds tenderness, beauty and painted eggs that sing along the way. Lost auteur Leos Carax is on hand as Luna’s therapist; designer and film philanthropist Agnes b. produced. Marcel Zyskind’s cinematography is swell. Music by Jason Spaceman and the Sun City Girls. 112m. Anamorphic 2.40 widescreen. (Ray Pride)
“Mister Lonely” opens Friday at the Music Box. Korine is scheduled to appear Friday and 7pm and 9:45pm and Saturday at the 2pm show.