Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway Kaboom Director Greg Araki (The Mysterious Skin) usually doesn't pull any punches. He has a sharp visual style, a supercharged pace and an ear for how young kids talk to each other. When he's at his best, he's right up there with Larry Clark (Kids), Quentin Tarrantino or even John Waters. When he's bad, he is a mess--a cinematic Nam June Paik with an attention disorder. At times, Araki treats his films like iPhones with too many apps.
Sadly this is the case with "Kaboom".
The film stars Thomas Dekker as Smith, a Keanu Reeves version of a college student who has a crush on his roommate Thor, played by Chris Zylka. Smith has strange apocalyptic dreams featuring a red dumpster and a long hallway or having sex with Thor. Even the dreams are not that interesting. Smith gets strange cards and messages like something out of "The Matrix" and a cult foretelling of Doom but it's not that important. At least it doesn't seem so. It becomes difficult to care. I even had an urge to write this review with text abbreviations, that is how trivial and tedious it seemed.
The film does do a good job of showing the hypermania of our sexual culture, of how students talk and relate in a purely sexual way. John Waters did the same thing in "A Dirty Shame" and I did enjoy parts of that film. In "Kaboom" though, there is no irreverence, just convention. But can a film that includes parts of "Un Chien Andalou" be all bad? Almost.
The best of the movie is its cinematography. Sizzling color. Big bold images. Soft porn popcorn! If only the film offered a little more, either in style or Sin. If Araki had just dropped the Cult aspect of the story and focused on the science fiction of sex in today's digitally distracted world this film could have been daring. There are moments of tone and dialogue that almost echo the quirky 1982 indie, "Liquid Sky". But here, there is no salacious snicker or off-beat science fiction to go with the sex.
Araki's latest Truth or Dare, is a Truth or Dud
Write Ian at firstname.lastname@example.org