Reviews of Kaboom
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Gregg Araki’s “Kaboom” turned out to be a real pleasure. What starts as an indulgent and seemingly cliched teenybopper movie turns into a film that doesn’t take itself too seriously and invites the viewer to laugh both at it and with it. This may have been the most enjoyable viewing experience of the festival. It may not be a great film but it is infinitely watchable.
This was my first experience with an Araki film and he didn’t disappoint. There is a fluidity to “Kaboom” that indicates the work of a true professional and it comes at you in such a headlong rush that one can’t help but be caught up in it. The story of a young, sex-obsessed bi-curious college kid named Smith (Thomas Dekker) who turns out to be the chosen prince of a new world cult that wants to create…well…a new world is outlandishly ridiculous, so much so that what starts out as eye-rolling disbelief slowly and imperceptibly turns into enjoyable parody.
About halfway through the film we realize the director is not taking things seriously and inviting us to do the same. One almost expects a character to turn to the camera and say, “Relax! It’s only a movie!” In any event this is the feeling that the director was able to provoke in this viewer and it was a welcome one. The tone of the film is a breath of fresh air amidst often stoic festival fare that wears its seriousness on its sleeve.
“Kaboom” ends with a bang. The leader of the cult (Smith’s absent father), who has taken control of the entire world’s nuclear stockpile in order to hasten the apocalypse, presses the large red button in front of him on his desk. Cut to a wide shot of Earth in space, which explodes. The end. Araki has dropped a bomb in our laps, which he warns us of from the beginning with the very title of the film. Yes, the film is a trifle. As such it fulfills its duties admirably with hilarious nihilism.