October 5, 2011

Justify My Netflix: Kaboom

(Like many Netflix customers, I too can get quite lax with the timely watching and returning of my movies, which of course defeats the entire purpose of having a flat-rate rental plan in the first place. To combat that, I am now writing standardized mini-reviews of each and every movie I end up watching through Netflix, both instantly and on DVD. Don't forget, all previous 'Justify My Netflix' reviews can be found on CCLaP's main movie page.)

Kaboom

Today's movie: Kaboom, 2010 (Amazon | IMDB | Netflix | Wikipedia)

Why I added it to my queue: Because this sounded just too weird to pass up, a cross-genre experiment from indie veteran Gregg Araki that is partly an '80s-style teen comedy, partly a Shortbus-style ode to pansexuality, partly a Bret Easton Ellis-style look at edgy, jaded undergraduates, and partly a Donnie Darko-style genre flick about secret societies and the end of the world.

The reality: Hole. Lee. Crap! I don't know how Araki managed to actually get this film made, but I have to confess that it was one of the most mesmerizing movie experiences I've had in a long time, a real mind-messer-upper that not only delivers on all the levels I just mentioned, but that was even shot in a memorable way, concentrating on a minimalist, highly symmetrical look that recalls the style of David Fincher's Zodiac or Richard Kelly's The Box, with so many scenes between lovers shot directly above beds that it easily becomes the main running theme of the entire project. I mean, granted, again like Kelly's work, there are problems with using a script this odd -- for example, by the end nearly all aspects of reality itself have been abandoned, turning the film's last half-hour into an out-and-out fairytale, an aspect that clashes against the more character-oriented tone earlier. But that's a small price to pay for such a strange, beautiful, funny, utterly unclassifiable piece of cinema like this; and I have to admit, just this movie alone was enough for me to immediately add the nine other films in Araki's oeuvre to my Netflix queue, which I am now eagerly looking forward to checking out. (He is perhaps best known for his 2004 adaptation of the dark novel Mysterious Skin, but also garnered quite a bit of infamy in the '90s with such flicks as The Living End, Totally F-cked Up and The Doom Generation.) A film that I literally haven't been able to get out of my head since first watching it a month ago, it comes with one of the strongest recommendations I've made this year. Rent this as soon as you possibly can.

Strangest piece of trivia: This is Araki's first film to be shot in the 2.35:1 format.

Worth your time? Hells yes

Filed by Jason Pettus at 4:44 PM, October 5, 2011. Filed under: Movies | Reviews |