Full Title: Trash Humpers
Director: Harmony Korine
Comments: Humping. Shagging. Forincating. Fucking. Whatever you wish to call it; it is a perpetual aspect of our American lifestyle. Trash: our ubiquitous used condom, the leftover, the thrown away, the skeleton of us. What happens when these two social phenomenas meet? The latest work of director, Harmful Korine. Being a massive fan of Korine’s first motion picture, Gummo (1997) I greatly anticipated seeing this film, in fact this was arguably the highest anticpated film for me in ages and certainly of this year. Having missed out on the various screenings of Trash from the past two years I put forth a valiant effort to order it from Amazon (it has been banned from Netflix!) and after a lengthy process it finally arrived. Quietly, I locked myself in my room and zoned out for a good hour and half (or whatever the running time is). As viewers we are presented with an “artifact,” as Korine has called it, this found footage, old school, raw, analog, VHS looking piece of work. And yes, right from the beginning, we watch thee miscreants hump trash like there’s no tomorrow. With no real dialogue or explanation we see non-linear scene after scene of the trio’s pastime, which include, but are certainly not limited to partying, setting off firecrackers, coercing their “slaves” to eat certain things and entertain for them, and of course murder. Of course. As can be expected with old Harmful’s cinematic experimentations, convential movie standards are obliterated and when we get any sense of insight about who these people are what their story is, this insight is severed. The film is completely chaotic, but amidst this bedlam, real emotion is communicated. As wildy and wacky as Trash can be, Korine manages to connect with his audience and even feel for the savage stars on screen with a unique finesse, unmatched in the undeground or aboveground film circuit. I honestly don’t know what it is sometimes. I mean, don’t get me wrong, Korine is clearly talented, but I feel like in someone else’s hands, I would view this as, well nothing more than trash. But, instead he takes the lowest of the low and transforms this filth fest into a genuine artistic expression, albeit a harsh, relentless, visual and audio assault on the viewer. This is extreme, fringe cinema; out of all the found footage films I have seen, this one has struck me the hardest. It looks very real (though it is totally ficticious) and never lets up. Not once does it feel like a film… ehhh, one or two exceptions, but I don’t want to delve into those scenes in this review. I will say, I am hesitant to call it a masterpiece, just yet, but it is an original, challenging, piece of art that is easily one of the most thought provoking films I have ever seen. With comparison to other Korine films, let me say I don not enjoy this nearly as much as Gummo. I found that to be far more entertaining and I loved the way it swtiched things up constantly, with never a dull moment, even mixing the conventional with the unconventional. Now, I do prefer Trash over Mister Lonely (2007), Korine’s last film, which moved closer in the direction of a more mainstream/conventional film. Trash is akin to Harmful returning to his old form, so I’m glad about that. With that being said, at times I feel a bit bored, or like the film has run its course. This only happens a few times, but that’s enough to note. The film simply lacks the constant barrage of lurid images that Gummo contains. Don’t misconstrue me, it has a plethora of nasty, shocking, and definitely impressionable images, but not consistent enough for my taste. I feel like the film’s length could use a little truncating. But, it really doesn’t matter what I think, Korine made his film, the Great American Movie. If you are intrigued by the art of trash humping, I recommend it.
Grade: To slap a letter grade on this is kind of pointless, considering the criteria I usually require for films, by and large, cannot be applied here. So, I will judge it on an emotional level (and it certainly is filled with emotion- the last fifteen minutes is one of the most unsettling scenes/endings my eyes have ever witnessed). In the words of Anthony Fantano, I am going to give this a strong 7 to light 8, probably leaning more towards 8.
“I TOLD YOU I’D KILL IT!” For one of the KLYAMers, this is one of the best scenes in all of film. I agree it is great and it is definitely one of the funniest/most disturbing scenes in the the feature and perhaps of all time for that matter.