Sunday, 19 June 2011

REVIEW: Kaboom

Young people fucking, the movie.

It occurred to me whilst watching Kaboom, A sort of incoherent, sort of fun end of of the world movie by Gregg Araki, how little money this must have cost. It looked almost jarringly cheap, and while this is to be accepted in certain areas of the independent film circuit, one would have thought Gregg Araki has paid his dues by now. He's made critically respected, edgy films for years and you could argue that Mysterious Skin was a breakout critical hit. Point being of course that by now, Gregg Araki should have no difficulty getting films made. Sure no-one going to be clambering to give him big budgets, but you'd think he'd get to make films for 5 million each time out. And yet Kaboom looks and feels like it was made on a budget to which the term shoestring would be kind. And it's incredibly indicative of the state of modern independent film-making, in which even established directors can struggle, let alone those who are unproven.

But sad state of independent film-making aside, Kaboom isn't what you'd call a great film. It's very messy and the plot is so incredibly contrived and lame its not even funny, and to be honest Araki is much less adept at crafting a narrative then he is at exploring sexual politics and character. That aspect of the film is pretty silly, to the point where the self-conscious ending seems to acknowledge this. Araki is better at getting likable and engaging performances out of his young cast, with Thomas Dekker acting as a pleasingly stable anchor to all the natural and supernatural craziness that goes on around him. Juno Temple, soon to be of the Dark Knight rises, gives a terrific performance as a nymphomaniac friend and there's some jarring and interesting scenes that deal with sexual identity. But it would be lying to call this anything other then a colossal mess.

Such is the consequence of writing such a stream of consciousness script I suppose, and there's an unfortunate subplot dealing with an ex-girlfriend who's a witch too, which its probably politer not to really discuss. I guess I liked the idea of it, and it held its Donnie Darko influence on its sleeve, and I got a slight nostalgic kick out of that, but still the thing makes positively no attempt to make sense and just ends in a huge shrug, particularly frustrating given how much time it spent trying to build up its plot. Not Araki's best film by long shot, but an interesting attempt by him to do something different. Yeah, he probably gets more wrong then right, but having said that it has an energy and sense of humor that mostly allow for the gaping gaps in logic.

Rating: 5/10

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