I’m at the opening night of the 25th annual Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. There’s a buzz and cupcakes are in the air (literally the festival’s logo this year). My article The Future of Queer Cinema questioned the direction LGBT film was going and Gregg Araki’s latest movie hits back with a strong reply.

Kaboom revolves around a troupe of sex-obsessed students. The campus, the characters and the plot is super kitsch but you can’t resist its charm. With names like Smith, Thor and London it’s clear Araki is not concerned with reality but a hyper-real reflection of sexual awakening. Add to the mix an apocalyptic plot and we have the formula for surreal action.

…this is an indication that sexuality is not as taboo as it once was…

The film is packed with pop culture references and parodies – imagine the Scooby Doo gang pumped with an endless supply of Viagra and you’re batting in the right ball park. Speaking of which, it seems batting for both sides is in vogue as sexual identity here is nonchalantly fluid. On the night, Araki said he wanted to make a movie which updated the sensibilities of its audience. A film to be as contemporary as Mysterious Skin was. Perhaps this is an indication that sexuality is not as taboo as it once was – the contents of one’s underwear is a suffix rather than a prefix to pleasure.

Kaboom’s nihilistic persuasions are similar to Araki’s other work and there were times when the mock-teen-angst-sex-fest-college-drama itself became mockable. Nevertheless I will stick with my instincts and say that
the film is an entertaining romp of sci-fi and free love.

Flaccid at times but still an eyeful.

4 Stars

Image courtesy of Marianne Williams


About The Author

Christabel Samuel graduated from UCL with a BA in English Literature and an MA in Film Studies. When she's not writing for MouthLondon, she's a filmmaker and journalist.

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