Not enough bang for your buck

Release date: 10 June
15 * 86 mins
Distributor: Artificial Eye
Director: Gregg Araki
Cast: Thomas Dekker, Haley Bennett, Juno Temple, Kelly Lynch

They say an ending can make or break a movie. Based on this theory Gregg Araki’s trippy, sexually-brazen mystery comedy should be suffering from multiple compound fractures throughout every bone in its wrecked body, the ending is that bad. It’s a shame as the preceding 80 minutes crackle with a youthful, anarchic energy that put it on the verge of thermonuclear in comparison with the typical American indie.

Dekker (The Sarah Connor Chronicles’ John Connor) plays Smith, a freewheeling, sexually “undeclared” college layabout with the hots for his surfer roommate Thor (yes that really is his name and no this isn’t another Avengers tie-in), a lesbian best friend (Bennett), a limey piece on the side (Temple) and cryptic dreams that may hold clues to a gruesome murder on campus. Throw in occasionally striking pop art visuals, an animal-mask sporting cult and apocalyptic conspiracy theories and the ingredients are in place for a hipster Donnie Darko.

There are a number of other parallels to be drawn with Richard Kelly’s mini-masterpiece, including the terrific whippersnapper cast and a line in witty dialogue. Unlike Darko, however, there’s no method to Kaboom’s utter-insanity; it crumbles badly in the final minutes and reveals its central mystery as little more than a meaningless whimsy.

Araki is a talented director but with the film being shot on the cheap, cardboard sets and scene transition wipes typically reserved for cheesy wedding videos are the order of the day. Lack of cash therefore may explain the ludicrously abrupt ending, but as the final credits roll to the sound of Placebo’s “The Bitter End” and a neon Why Not? Productions card flashes on screen, you can’t help but feel it’s all one big joke. Unfortunately, we’re not laughing. Jordan Farley