Cannes Review: Gregg Araki's Trippy College Comedy Kaboom
by Alex Billington
May 18, 2010
Although I already walked out of one film earlier at the Cannes Film Festival asking "what the fuck did I just watch?", this movie deserves that exclamation much more than that other one (Hideo Nakata's Chatroom). After hearing some interesting buzz about American indie filmmaker Gregg Araki's new film Kaboom, I decided to check out the film at its last screening in Cannes and man, was it crazy. It's pretty much an acid trip version of Rules of Attraction about some college kids and, well, I can't even really start to explain what happens. If you're in to low budget mind-trip wacky films, then maybe you'll end up liking Kaboom as well.
Similar to Les Amours Imaginaires' Xavier Dolan, Araki is a gay filmmaker and Kaboom starts out almost as a typical college relationship story about a bi-sexual student (Thomas Dekker) who has the hots for his surfer roommate, but can't find the right guy, so he ends up hooking up with Juno Temple instead. He has a re-occurring dream with some people he doesn't know and a dumpster, which sort of sets things in motion. Beyond that, I don't even want to try and explain more of the plot, but I can tell you that it contains lesbian witches, crazy animal-mask wearing cults, lots of gay sex, lots of naked Juno Temple, and so much more.
I don't exactly love Araki's cinematic style, it's very low budget and it looks like he shot this with a consumer video camera, but this is one of those so-bad-it's-good kind of films where it's easy to forget that there aren't any production values and just laugh and enjoy the drug trip that Araki takes you on. I'm not even using a metaphor by referencing a drug trip either, Kaboom had to have been conceived when Araki dropped some acid and thought it would be a good idea to make a trippy gay college cult movie, but alas, it's not actually a terrible film. And as long as you can appreciate that going in, Kaboom is actually pretty damn fun to watch.