Published Apr 14, 2016After making his directorial debut with 2010's The Wrong Ferrari (shot entirely on an iPhone), former Moldy Peach Adam Green returns with one of the most bizarre films I have ever seen. Adam Green's Aladdin is equal parts art film and hallucinogenic cartoon nightmare.
Green funded the film via a successful Kickstarter campaign, and enlisted the help of a who's who of New York art, music and film scenesters, with Macaulay Culkin, Natasha Lyonne, Alia Shawkat, Zoe Kravitz and Har Mar Superstar amongst the film's high profile cast members. Green casts himself as Aladdin, and turns in a stilted and goofy, yet oddly winning performance. Though purportedly a re-imagining of the classic tale Aladdin, the film doesn't hew too closely to the story you may know or expect.
Plot-wise, things get weird. Yes, there is a magic lamp, and a genie, but this lamp is a 3-D printer, and the genie is Italian artist Francesco Clemente. The rest is better experienced than recapped. The film plays with some big ideas about technology, political activism, sex and love, but as with any fever dreams, there's a sense of relief when it is all over.
Visually, the film is a DIY marvel, featuring psychedelic handmade papier-mâché sets and props. There are a few driving sequences that are so weird and jarring that they take on an off-putting beauty, and particularly memorable is the "magic rug ride" sequence (again, better seen than described). Soundtracked by original Green compositions, the film has a ramshackle charm and daffy energy that carries it beyond the limitations of its threadbare story.
For viewers who value audacity and originality more than comprehensibility, Adam Green's Aladdin is a triumph. This is not a film I'd recommend to everyone, but rest assured, your mescaline dealer is going to love it.