Seven years after “Spring Breakers,” Harmony Korine doesn’t send party-loving girls, but rather a worn-out writer in front of the dazzling backdrop of a metropolis of millions. And that’s why his film BEACH BOOM also divide the audience in a similar way. We reveal how we find it in our review.
The Plot Summary
Moondog (Matthew McConaughey) is a true bon vivant – a genius-kissed poet who devotes his existence in the laid-back Florida Keys solely to drugs and women. Luckily for him, that’s exactly why his beautiful and wealthy wife Minnie (Isla Fisher) loves their Moondog. Until a tragic accident tears Minnie out of life: In her last will and testament, she explains that Moondog can only receive his share of the impressive inheritance if he finally completes the new book he has been planning for years. Starting signal for a crazy search for inspiration that lets our hero experience the craziest things and meet the weirdest guys…
Movie explanation of the ending
After California-born Harmony Korine celebrated his directorial debut in 1997 with the tragicomedy “Gummo,” which received little positive feedback from critics, the filmmaker devoted a long time to directing short films, music videos and advertising clips. He had a similar experience with his rare feature films “Julien Donkey-Boy”, “Mister Lonely” and “Trash Humpers” – and his last film “Spring Breakers” also found little reception among the feature writers. In return, Korine finally made a name for herself among the masses. Not least because in his anti-party film he cast a who’s who of Disney teen stars against their good-girl image and also placed them in the care of a completely free-wheeling James Franco. Nevertheless, “Spring Breakers” caught many people off guard, because in United Kingdom in particular, the film was advertised more as a boozy cinematic break and not as a cynical commentary on exactly that. With Korine’s new work “Beach Bum”, at least that’s what PR looks like -Looks a little different. Here, too, there is a lot of celebration in front of a beautiful backdrop – but this time Korine isn’t so concerned about commenting on the celebration afterwards. “Beach Bum” is – in the truest sense of the word – a 95-minute trip with Matthew McConaughey (“White Boy Rick”)which you have to get involved with in order to feel something similar to the drugged-out philosopher who doesn’t seem to notice anything about it.
Moondog (Matthew McConaughey) seeks inspiration through intoxication.
Rarely has it been easier to understand both sides of the widely diverging opinions about the same film that have already emerged in reviews than in the case of “Beach Bum”. Harmony Korine’s odyssey of a drugged-up writer is just as easy to love as it is to hate – if you as a viewer don’t find access to Moondog (or at least the atmosphere here) relatively quickly, you will quickly be lost. You shouldn’t expect much from the story. Harmony Korine only tells it in passing, in fragments, associatively and with an emphasis on mood. Korine, who is also responsible for the script, portrays his protagonist as an absolutely unreliable narrator and remains deliberately ambiguous from the start. The scenes that are clearly located in reality and those that take place in a diluting state of intoxication merge into one another right from the start. This goes so far that at the end of “Beach Bum” you might think that the last 95 minutes were perhaps all just a big illusion and that none of it actually took place (i.e. in what is presented here as the “real world”) . At this point we don’t want to make an assessment about which moments in “Beach Bum” should be taken at face value and which are simply the result of Moondog’s drug trips – ultimately, you probably shouldn’t. Perhaps Harmony Korine is making it too easy for herself: If everything in the reality depicted here is subject to the drugs anyway and at some point everything merges into one big (happiness) feeling, Korine no longer has to stick to an inner-logical staging and narrative concept and spin just as freely as its main character. You can find this cheap, or you can find it consistent.
The question of what “Beach Bum” is about can only be described as vaguely as Matthew McConaughey could probably describe what happened to him during filming. Given the end result, it’s hard to believe that Moondog wasn’t actually on drugs the whole time. Here McConaughey prances through the holiday paradise of Florida, petting cats, seducing women, philosophizing with his beautiful wife and taking one narcotic after another, so that his presence can only be confirmed physically, but never mentally. When we usually talk about someone being just “a shadow of themselves,” it usually has a negative connotation. Harmony Korine, on the other hand, sees this neologism as a transcendental state of suspension in which Moondog wanders around. As a viewer – like everything about “Beach Bum” – you can love or hate the fact that this is the only thing that defines his character. What also works, however, is the pull effect emanating from the atmosphere and Moondog, so that as a viewer you are soon on a similar level of perception as the main character. “Beach Bum” is a film that itself becomes intoxicating.
Moondog’s daughter Heather (Stefania LaVie Owen) and his wife Minnie (Isla Fisher).
In a few scenes a narrative briefly shines through. That in itself makes it particularly intense – for example when Moondog sees his wife Minnie in someone else’s arms on the beach one evening or when she dies in an accident shortly afterwards (and very early in the film). At the same time, such narratively important moments are clearly subordinated to the drug-filled atmosphere. And so “Beach Bum” doesn’t dwell on the grieving process of the cuckolded new widower for long, but instead turns straight back to the lavish escapades of the poet, who from then on makes all sorts of different contacts and goes out to sea every now and then – including a detailed splatter -Deposit after an unfortunate shark encounter – and even checked into rehab for a while; albeit only to briefly meet Zac Efron in a small supporting role, whose appearance could have been longer. Not only does Moondog get through his everyday life as an author struggling with writer’s block with this laissez-faire attitude, but the film also gets through its 95 minutes. Harmony Korine consistently refrains from commenting on this colorful hustle and bustle until the end. It’s as if he had already said everything on the subject with “Spring Breakers”, so from now on he leaves it up to the viewer alone whether they demonize the Moondoog escapades or enjoy them. Perhaps the ultimate truth can be seen in the final shot of “Beach Bum.” Maybe all of this is just an illusion, the film is just a homage to senseless intoxication, either in the form of drugs, money or even this film. Maybe it’s trash because what Korine actually wants to tell us never really gets through. But perhaps one can never really work without the other.
Conclusion: Love It Or Leave It – opinions will differ on Harmony Korine’s “Beach Bum” – not least because the director ultimately delivers something of a counter-proposal to “Spring Breakers” with his Matthew McConaughey one-man show and his Figures here go beyond the rigor, completely without to comment on it.
“Beach Bum” can be seen in USA cinemas from March 28th.