Monday, June 16, 2014

Kaboom - Review - @BrandonCSites / #ThomasDekker / #GreggAraki

Kaboom (2010) **
D: Gregg Araki
C: Thomas Dekker, Haley Bennett, Chris Zylka, Roxane Mesquida, Juno Temple, Andy Fischer-Price, Nicole LaLiberte, James Duval, Kelly Lynch, Jason Olive, Brennan Mejia, Carlo Mendez
P: Pan sexual college student is haunted by nightmarish visions of a fellow student being murdered by men wearing animal masks and of prophecies predicting the end of the world.

Gregg Araki pioneered a movement and introduced a brand new style of filmmaking. However, with Kaboom it feels as though Araki is just going through the motions. By now, we all know to expect some outrageous dialogue, tormented characters, an emphasis on sexuality and how it affects the day to day lives of its characters, over the top visuals and a sense that the world is ending. All those elements are present in Kaboom, but Araki fails to do anything new or fresh with them. Kaboom feels stale. It feels as though this was a film made by someone trying to imitate Araki.

As for Thomas Dekker ....well, he's no James Duval. For those unfamiliar with Duval, Duval starred in Araki’s earlier films (Totally F***ed Up, The Doom Generation, Nowhere). James Duval was totally fearless in his performances. Thomas Dekker, on the other hand, is a bit too restricted & controlled. He does NOT allow himself to fully let go and turn in a raw, uninhibited performance that he is probably capable of.

And that in a way sums up Kaboom as a whole. Araki has made films that pushed boundaries & pushed our conceptions of what is acceptable. His films have been challenging, but rewarding. Kaboom might push the envelope in terms of sex & nudity, but it never quite goes there in terms of emotional honesty. The film is a bit too restricted and controlled in terms of finding its own truth just like Dekker's performance. 

There is a certain curio factor to this whole enterprise as there is with all of Gregg Araki's films. However, Kaboom is the type of film that you watch once and go that was OK. None of it really leaves much of an impression. I guess it's, because we've seen this film from Gregg Araki before. When it comes to a Gregg Araki film, one- I expect something more then just the same old, same old. Two, I certainly expect something more then just OK. [R] 86 mins.

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