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Julien Donkey-Boy review

Just when you thought Dogme had faded into arthouse obscurity, the first American film to obey the manifesto arrives. Harmony Korine brings us the tale of Julien (Ewen Bremner), a troubled schizophrenic who regales passers-by and chats with Hitler.

In untidy documentary style, the movie follows Julien interacting with family, friends and strangers - and that's about it. But it's deceptively simple: for instance, Werner Herzog's tyrannical father, who listens to hillbilly music in a gas-mask, is subtly revealed to be consumed by loss and failure.

Oddly, the German director makes his character magnetically entertaining. But the real revelation is Ewen Bremner, who with his Method portrayal of mental illness out-classes, say, Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. It's a characterisation that's liberated of Hollywood's need to tidy and moralise.

With strong turns and poetic moments, Julien Donkey-Boy is remarkable, so much so that Korine's less successful experimental scenes and jolting narrative are forgiveable.

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