Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ken Park

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Ken Park - 1 out of 5

In the United States, the only time this movie got to see any form of release (and that doesn't include illegal DVD rips floating around the internet) was in 2002 at the Telluride Film Festival.  Since then, according to the one of the film's directors Larry Clark, they were unable to get the musical releases needed to release the film.  That sounds like a good excuse.

This movie starts with a bang...and my review starts with a bad pun.

Ken Park isn't much different from Larry Clark's other familiar work; Kids.  Written by Harmony Korine (who based it off of Clark's journals and stories), the film is centered around the sudden and unexpected suicide of a high school kid named Ken Park.  Ken really has no part to play in the film other than a way to start the movie and a poorly developed construct used to introduce the story's main players; a group of four kids who all knew Park.  Each kid is royally messed up in the head as one is sleeping with his girlfriend's mother, another is a sexually promiscuous girl stuck with a overly protective and extremely religious father, another is a sexual deviant (I'm sensing a pattern here) who is extremely disrespectful to his grandparents who are raising him and the final one lives with a father who believes he is gay and is mentally abusive to him.

Wait...is this a biopic on Michael Hutchence?

If you've seen any of the works by Harmony Korine--works like Kids, Gummo and Mister Lonely--this movie isn't going to look much different.  All his usual themes of impoverished teens who seek refuge in sex and drugs is here.  In fact, the only real difference between this movie and Kids is the fact it doesn't take place in the streets of New York.  Now this is going to upset the film student crowds who worship Clark and Korine as gods in the movie world but this film isn't worth it.  It tries to be artistic and deep but when it feels more like a weak sequel or even a reboot of another film that saw these two work together, how creative can it be?

With all the weird nudity in this film, it was hard to find stills to use in this review.

The movie, with it's obvious weak story and plot, decides to shock you with extremely (and extremely isn't a strong enough word) vivid sex scenes that stop short of showing actual penetration.  I'm no prude but this emphasis on sex and male nudity seemed less about art and more about trying to distract the audience to it's lack of characters and story so that the most pretentious of all student filmmakers can say they loved the film so that they don't feel like they didn't "get it."

That's Bill Fagerbakke, the voice of Patrick Star in SpongeBob SquarePants.
Even he looks shocked he's in this movie.

But the reality is, there's nothing to get with Ken Park.  The film is flat on all sides and cliches are all abound--despite Clark's attempts to hide them with lots of shots of penises.  The actors all involved come off as if there were uninterested--that is until the younger members of the cast have their sex scenes and even then, their interest level only seemed to go up by a small percentile.  In the end, Ken Park is one of those films that movie snobs love and will say that I hated it because I don't "understand it" but when your film comes off as a lack of effort with every second that passes, what I don't get is why did the production bother to continue to make it.

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