Monday, September 24, 2012

Trash Humpers (2009) Review

Trash Humpers poster
Director: Harmony Korine
Genre: Mockumentary, Black Comedy

Call this film a metaphor, an allegory, a spoof, a parody, a satire, call it what you'd like. It's very possible that is all of those things and more. Perhaps the only thing we can be absolutely sure it is is a film directed by Harmony Korine, the man best known for Gummo and Kids.

The director wanted this film to feel like a film that someone found in a ditch. I think that's a cool idea, no matter how silly it sounds. The film, often called an anti-film, has no structured plot. In fact, anything you know about films is thrown right out the window with this film, an accomplishment all on its own. Filmed with a far-from-HD camcorder, recording the lives of the oddest characters you'll ever see.

And yes, there is humping of trash in here. Did you expect there not to be?

I'm pretty sure the director's reason for having the film appear like a home video is to force the viewer to draw comparisons between the people in the film and the viewer's own family. The way I see it the film is one big allegory. The character's in the film, at first, seem completely abstract and absurd, humping trash, beating up dolls, so on and so forth. The reason behind this was probably so it has a greater effect when you realize just how similar they are.

Sure, most people aren't as blatantly racist or homophobic as the man with the neck and arm brace, but who is worse: the man who is openly prejudice or the man who is but pretends not to be? And sure, most people don't go into parking lots and smash televisions, but why not? Many people are well aware of the rot that television contributes to society.

Could the baby doll being beaten over the head be symbolic of parents or authority figures beating pseudo-facts and manipulated morals into people's minds from a young age? Could dragging baby dolls around on strings tied to the backs of bicycles in circles symbolize the stagnant state of human development? Or could dragging babies around tied to bicycles through the dirt show that many children have to suffer the same filth as their parents simply because their parents are filthy? After all, many racists are only racist because of their parents, same with homophobia, religion, and many other morals.

Does the soap on the pancakes reference the use of over-synthetic ingredients in many modern food products and how the vast majority willingly eat them? Does the part with one of the characters expressing their love to a fire hydrant imply how many people look at love in an artificial way and treat the opposite gender as inanimate objects?

Did the man dressed in a maid's outfit who spoke out against non-conformism represent freedom and did the killing of him represent war, and how nations and people tend to silence that which they disagree with?

Trash Humpers review

I don't know, maybe. I think so. It depends how you want to interpret it. It depends if you want to interpret it at all, or just watch it and enjoy it. I think the characters in this film are just much more honest versions of ourselves. Showing the true colors of society. We're all just romanticized trash humpers in the end. Which raises the question: is honesty always the best?
"Heads, it would be nice to live without a head..."
This film is a gritty, scary, and even disgusting look into people and society, and those three adjectives can describe both perfectly. Perhaps the most truthful film, and perhaps the best example of a film being both abstract and foreign and familiar and recognizable all at the same time. 

Trash humpers review

OR it's just a really shitty film. Yeah, it's probably just a really shitty film. But then again it may also be the greatest film ever created...either way. I think this film is much deeper than the title may suggest. You could analyze or explain it however you please, but the film doesn't necessarily require an analysis or explanation to be enjoyed. 

Though there is no real soundtrack the characters often sing. I found the songs and spoken word parts to be the most enjoyable. After watching this you'll have "Three little devils jumped over the wall..." and "Make it, make it, don't fake it, fake it" stuck in your head for days.

I wouldn't say this is Harmony Korine's best film (and I've seen all of them) but it's a must watch for any fans of his, and you know what? I think this is a film that everyone should watch at least once. You'll either hate it or love it. But I guarantee it is unlike anything you've ever seen before. And that alone should warrant a viewing.

I've already seen it twice, once in theaters with a friend and once at home by myself. I will say it is a bit more enjoyable if you have a friend with you you can laugh with.

In conclusion, it seems like the director achieved his goal with this film. And at the very least he got a bunch of people to watch a film called Trash Humpers.

3.5/5 stars

Purchase Trash Humpers on Amazon: DVD

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