Based on the book Loaded by Christos Tsiolkas, Head On is a headlong rush through 24 hours in the life of a restless young man who is struggling to find himself amid the conflicts of his heritage, his sexuality, and his familiy’s expectations. Its star, Alex Dimitriades (The Heartbreak Kid), won the Australian Film Critics Award for Best Actor with his brilliant performance in the central role of Ari, a handsome 19-year-old with an enormous appetite for sex, drugs and personal freedom. Ari lives with his traditional Greek parents in present-day Melbourne, a city where ethnic tensions run hot under a seemingly benign surface. He openly rejects his parent’s traditional values, and especially his father’s attempts to control his activities. An added complication is that he is expected to look out for his younger sister Alex, who is secretly having an affair with a Lebanese youth. In the course of this particular day, Alex’s worlds will collide, as he throws himself into a hedonistic binge of drug taking, club hopping and sex while family matters, societal convention and the local police are all lined up on a collision to meet him ‘head on.’ The film’s frank depictions of Ari’s sexual exploits caused controversy in Australia, where the film won accolades for both Dimitriades’ brilliant performance in the central role and director Ana Kokkinos’ vivid exploration of the ethnic hatred underlying contemporary Australian society. –Seattle International Film Festival
Existential musings of a hedonistic boy through a night journey in an Australian city, his definitive realization that his life is his own,and nothing can come between - not his strict cultural upbringing, definitely not the double jeopardy imposed upon his being gay and foreign. The film's unrelenting depiction of sexuality and alienation is triumphantly presented by the sensitive direction and truthful performances
I hate this fucking movie. In 24 hours, Ari fucks and sucks his way through his girlfriend and several male partners, does grass, pills, booze, cocaine, gets arrested and beaten by the cops--yet through it all, remains squeaky clean Adonis--no bloodshot eyes or vomit from the mouth of this Greek god! Gritty, realistic cinema? Hardly! Ari is a nihilistic layabout--it takes 104 minutes to make this point? Gratuitous.