Published Apr 01, 2011Most akin to Nowhere in tone and format, Kaboom is the acid and horse tranquilizer follower to the weed-induced haze that was Smiley Face. It is undeniably Gregg Araki doing exactly what Gregg Araki does best, channelling his teen apocalypse trilogy thematically and upping the ante with the professionalism and polish experience has afforded him. Said simply, Kaboom is fucking awesome, from spacey, dreamy, frontally nude beginning to kick-in-the-ass freewill flippancy end. Where else would the line, "Dude, it's a vagina, not a plate of spaghetti" fit so aptly with a trippy, emo soundtrack and monochromatic set design?
Covering the usual Araki themes of sex, death and the apocalypse, with sexually ambiguous characters prone to creative insults and surrealist wardrobes receiving cryptic messages from typographically beautiful letters and random billboards, this propulsive rollercoaster of insanity follows the bisexual Smith (Thomas Dekker) as he tries to solve the mystery of his dreams about hostile strangers in animal masks. It seems to involve a cult and a drugged-out redhead, but a horny British classmate named London (Juno Temple) and socially awkward dream boy Oliver (Brennan Mejia) keep distracting him from his quest.
Of course, his les-box best friend Stella (Haley Bennett) thinks his mystery is little more than a drug-induced hallucination, which is really the pot calling the kettle black, since she believes her new girlfriend, Lorelei (Breillat regular Roxane Mesquida), is a psychotic witch with mystical powers. It's intended to be as ridiculous as it sounds, vacillating between comedy, horror and melodrama with a minor edit and quick change of soundtrack. But it just glides forward effortlessly, keeping its absurd narrative invigorated throughout and audience eyes glued to the screen.
With an irreverent, juvenile message of youth alienation in a pointless, oppressive world, there is little pretence to such a crazy, but twee, film. These angst-ridden notions are handled with sincerity, but in such an idiosyncratic manner that empathy and hilarity manage to exist simultaneously in each deliberately off-centre sequence. It's a fascinating balance in a fascinating film that says "fuck you" to fatalism, irony and conventional attitudes. (eOne)