Kaspar Hauser was allegedly born in Germany in 1812 and died by stabbing in 1833. He claimed to have grown up in total isolation in a darkened cell but much of his life has been little more than conjecture; facts soon dismissed as fiction. Italian director Davide Manuli uses this story as his jumping off point in the enigmatic, experimental The Legend of Kaspar Hauser. The film is not so much a retelling of the tale as an absurdist romp with none other than Vincent Gallo as its guide.
Gallo plays two roles. The Sheriff, dressed all in black, is a grossly exaggerated American stereotype which Gallo takes to with narcissistic glee. The other, The Pusher, clad in white leather with his name emblazoned on his jacket sleeve, speaks in Italian, womanizes, and periodically uses his super powers. The dance off between the two Gallos at the outset is especially satisfying.
Kaspar Hauser never makes an attempt to cohere, it more often does its utmost not to. Hauser washes ashore dead but soon comes to life, speaks nonsense, and dances to music coming from his headphones, which, of course, are not plugged into anything. Religious rhetoric, prostitution, gunplay, spaceships, it’s all in there. When your savior is a monosyllabic teenager, clad exclusively in Adidas tracksuits, with his name written across his chest in permanent marker, you know you’re in for a treat.