Michael Thomas Roe | Atlanta | 09/19/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was super curious waiting for this one. How was Ken Russell going to pull off his newly found freedom, that of taking digital camera in hand and filming friends and cohorts in his back garden in loosley structured ten minute bits, stringing it all together, finding wide release and perhaps regaining the acclaim that has been missing him all these years? How? With skill, as simple as that. There is, as Russell-ites know, more skill in this man's pinky toe than all of Hollywood. And beginner film makers should take note. There is a world of possibilities in cinema. They are as limited as your imagination. "Louse" is wildly inventive and has all the great Russell trademarks: shock editing, surrealistic sets, costumes and make-up. And I'll be darned if their aren't some fabulous music videos with soulful music and classic Russell-ian touches: lovers by the sea side, a dancer on a gravestone to name a few. And since this is a horror movie, don't forget, be prepared for some pretty unsettling images. The humour is droll and Ken Russell acts through out. I was, quited frankly, impressed by the quality of the images. There may be some noticeable budgetary restraints, but after you settle in to the movie, you'll be back in Russell land. Ahhhh. It's been a long time."
Celebration of the Perverse
Paul Ess. | Holywell, N.Wales,UK. | 03/21/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Filmed in his garden on a digi-cam, Ken Russell's 'FOTLOU' is a bonkers, inventive charmer guaranteed in no way to re-endear him to the likes of David Puttnam, Bryan Forbes and all the other unimaginative prigs in the hallowed halls of the British Film Industry.
He may be shorn of budget but the plus side of that of course, is there's no studio interference. No restraint being yelled by BFI yes-men which allows Ken free reign to deliver a lesson in guerilla film-making.
Grueling and unpleasant but mind-bogglingly entertaining, Russell is having a picnic to remember with his neighbours, family members and clapped-out UGLY rockers pillaging and plundering Poe til only entrails remain.
Ken himself plays the obviously looney psychiatrist/patient Dr Calihari. Who, when he's not eating lumps of his own ear-wax or trying to grope the excellent Nurse ABC Smith, is attempting to 'cure' rock-star Roddy Usher of his own insanity and also find out if he's murdered anyone or not.
Ok, as plots go it's a bit basic, but this slight premise allows Russell cart-blanch to go rooting and digging in man's darkest extremes, stopping to absorb deliriously each atrocity as he passes it by, giving the viewer a lascivious glimpse before dashing off to the next one.
Aided and abetted by the magnificent Nurse Smith, lucky old Ken somehow makes it to the end of the flick intact, though rambling and ranting in abject response to his own failures and punishments. Clever and funny, in a lewd, peep-show sense, 'FOTLOU' is admirable and satisfying BECAUSE of it.
Obviously it can't compare to 'the Music Lovers' or 'the Devils', but it does show the maniac Russell is still the most mind-rippingly, coarse-humoured, garishly coloured loose-cannon in town - and where's his MBE? (That'll be the day. Not enough sucking up!)
Wicked, profane and elatedly perverse, 'FOTLOU' is acid medicine to the saccharine excesses of mainstream cinema not only in dusty old Blighty, but also narcoleptic Hollywood and across the world.
We'll be sorry when he's gone."