Garishly tinted, wilfully sophomoric (and only intermittently funny), Greg Araki’s Kaboom wears its credentials on its sleeve, being its father’s baby through and through. This broad rehash of Donnie Darko-style prescient dread, served as a sex-and-gore farce, relies so much on its characters’ involvement in their absurd predicaments, that it risks missing out on an audience not trained in Araki’s ways.
Nothing less than an Apocalypse-update (the world indeed goes ka-boom in the end), the movie is a story of multiple awakenings and recurring nightmares, building up and canceling each other out at the same time. The main character’s visions of baleful figures wearing animal masks go hand in hand with his bisexual flings, and it’s to the movie’s credit that for most part these two strands are equally engaging.
It’s only towards the end that the cluttered narrative wears one down, and when the whimsical dénouement finally arrives, it’s a cop-out of sorts. The movie seems to be saying that its own democratic vision of an orgasm-chasing, politically inane humanity is not enough to sustain the story – or the world, for that matter. In that sense Araki (as usual) makes a half-desperate, half-prankish gesture towards the void, telling us that we can’t afford anything but a self-destructive joke (and its slow petering out before our eyes may be integral part of his vision).