by Ryland Walker Knight
An accident proves faith, as ever, when a nun falls free from a plane. However, her mad and rushing drop is called flying upon her unscathed return to earth. Roughly a third of Mister Lonely is a contrapuntal narrative about nuns in South America, a number of whom fly-fall back to earth as a test of (or, more apt, a testament to) their God. Their end is no surprise—nor is it a surprise that it ends the film—but its wash and lull fits the pull of the world that this odd, beautiful film so desperately tries to find purchase with and portray, expose, rend, render. Flight, for humans, we must remember, is terminal. We find our feet one way or another. Korine seems to say something beyond "Know your role" here. He seems to say, "Find it," first and then, "Keep playing," so long as (1) you can and (2) you find comfort in it. His ideal theatre is one shorn of masks. The arena he advocates has us happy with our capacities, without sacrificing the dream (to say moral plight) of perfectionism. All trajectories point down, down, down, just as Werner says in the plane: down to earth, into your world, into this life. The tragedy, such as it is, comes when we find we cannot find any productive joy as we tumble around town, or bounding outside.
—pull it up, out
—push back the wind
—see waves scorch us
—grateful for the quartet falling, flooded
with light and sought in a wink
—direct your own spotlights