Friday 10 June 2011

"Kaboom" (Metro 10/06/11)

Kaboom (15) 86 mins ***

After 2005’s positively respectable Mysterious Skin, indie maverick Gregg Araki here retreats in the direction of his earlier, wilder works with an ethereal college sex romp that plays like Donnie Darko rewritten by Bret Easton Ellis. Horny, blue-eyed pansexual Smith (Thomas Dekker) finds himself distracted from his film studies by first his buff, oft-shirtless yet incontrovertibly straight roommate Thor (Chris Zylka), then a sexually forthright girl called London (Juno Temple). Outside the bedroom, Smith’s having messianic visions, which may just be connected to the freaks in animal masks stalking him around campus.

Cinema at its most bi and curious, it’s compiled according to a vibrant pleasure principle: the colours are cranked up to eleven, and even post-grad characters go under such billings as “Hot-Tub Installing Nudist”. Hip casting lends Kaboom the freshness of just-unwrapped bubblegum – Temple gives the unabashed breakout turn a run of nudging, sniggering Britpics denied her – but Araki then has to fold in everything from witchcraft to Litvinenko-inspired poisonings to prevent any loss of flavour. Poppy fun, ultimately, less transgressive than regressive: the hetero doomsday cult Smith uncovers is every bit as Y2K as the Placebo track accompanying the end credits.

Kaboom opens in selected cinemas from today.

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