The director is a huge fan of This is Spinal Tap and although Flux Gourmet isn’t up to the formidable standards of that masterpiece, it boasts one or two Stonehenge moments of its own.
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This is Strickland’s grand act of prestidigitation; he coaxes out something like poignancy from the peculiar, just as he conjures the visceral and unknowable from ordinary groceries.
As usual, Strickland has made a sumptuous meal out of social impropriety — a strange cinematic delicacy about the discomforts that need to be shared so that others don’t have to be stomached.
This is red light district cinema in its language and humor; as it reaches its second half, people who lament that film has lost its love of sex and horniness will have their heads turned.
It should be noted that sometimes this feels like just weirdness for weirdness’ sake. Nevertheless, Strickland builds his own worlds with such a distinctive style — down to the fonts, the bilious shades of green and the textures of the silks — that the viewer can’t help feeling pulled into his crazy maelstrom of quirk.
Peter Strickland’s playful mockery of performance art and excessively serious-minded “collectives” feels both insular and, at times, a shade too flavorless.
Flux Gourmet is sometimes funny and always exotic, and every moment has his distinctive authorial signature. But I am starting to wonder if his style is becoming a hipster mannerism with less substance, and a less live-ammo sense of actual danger.
To call “Flux Gourmet” an acquired taste would be an understatement. It’s really more of an elaborate inside joke by Strickland on the peculiar relationship between artists and the institutions that fund, develop and encourage their folly.
Flux Gourmet plays like a gonzo skit, and is hilariously unabashed on that level, but there’s clearly a level of commentary here regarding the crazy whims of artistry, the trouble with getting funded by people whose opinions you despise, and the shrivelled incompetence of anyone paid to write about your work and consume it when it’s served.
The funniest of his films to date, it’s a fully realised, immaculately tailored creation which conceals a slow-burning sense of mischief under its deliberate oddness and ornately deadpan dialogue.