For fans of such mind-numbingly incoherent films wrapped up in the guise of the deep and philosophical, such as Donnie Darko, Mr. Nobody, Southland Tales comes Kaboom from writer and director George Araki (Totally Fucked Up, Mysterious Skin) and while we are at it, Araki sure as shit has established himself as an auteur of the film industry. However this film quashes such negative views on such a plethora of previous attempts and flukes triumphantly.
Kaboom is something of an opus for the director, an immature, psychotic film that wears its features on its sleeve for the audience to see, a film that does not attempt to hide itself or pretend it’s something that it isn’t, this film is downright daft, sexy, intellectual (or at least tries to be), paranoid, engaging and did I mention sexy? The basic premise of this film is; within the sexual awakenings of teenagers, the antics of secret organisations and apocalyptic paranoia bounce off each other, severely impacting on the unseen and seen world.
The protagonist of this clean shot, colourful comic-strip of a romp is, like most of the cast, mononymous and gorgeous Smith (Thomas Dekker, The Sarah Connor Chronicles) who begins to question his sexuality during the first weeks of his time at a nondescript Californian college, mostly fantasising over his straight room-mate and other male friends, however most of the film he ends up in the sack with free-spirited nymphomaniac and pedantically named London (Juno Temple), of course she’s British. And as if this down-to-earth set up of crazed good looking overly sexed teens isn’t enough Smith is having vivid dreams involving a red-haired girl, an intervention of sorts, animal masked men and a red dumpster. His good friend cynical and laconic Stella (Haley Bennet) accepts most of the goings on, until her life becomes something of a parody of its former self – overall degrading into a throw away story neglected by Araki, for crying out loud, her girlfriend is a clingy witch!
Kaboom is definitely amusing and it knows it all too well, there is nothing too offensive of the bisexuality of a film that shows sex in copious amounts. The film is likeable and the fact it’s all the more aware of its superficiality and melodrama will make any hardened cynic crack a smile. It’s a quirky, colourful and downright explosive film that gets you invested, engaged right until the final moments; where you’re not paid off – the film is what is and that is its saving grace, its flawed from the start; it’s a cult movie that doesn’t resonate.
In summary then, the film is a colourful bash of both genres and of visuals, with a large bravado to match the explosive nature of the story. As a fan of the insane, the idiotically comical and the engaging; this film does not disappoint, and it has one of the most beautiful looking casts to boot, so there is enough eye candy.
Written by Jonathan Kirby