Monday, November 17, 2014

"Kaboom": a potpourri of sci-fi ideas, and a catastrophic conclusion that you aren't expected to believe


The indie gay sci-fi film “Kaboom” (Gregg Araki, 2010) experimented with lucid dreaming and reality layers about the same time that Christopher Nolan was finishing “Inception”.  The film might also be compared to “Judas Kiss”, but this film is much faster-paced and has a more fun with itself.  Don’t take this romp too seriously.
  
At a college around LA, Smith (Thomas Dekker) explores his sexuality, wanting his surfer straight roommate Thor (Chris Zylka). There are plenty of women around, and people in masks.  One problem is that Smith keeps having some bizarre dreams, about a corridor leading to a dumpster, and people in the dreams keep popping up in “real life”.  Some of them (beach beefcake) he wants.  Is he schizophrenic?  No, there seems to be some kind of plot set up by a cult, a New World Order, run by a hunky “Messiah” (James Duval), which has wired up all the major cities of the world with nukes.  This sounds like something that ISIS would want to do now.  Gradually, Smith tracks down his single mom (Kelly Lynch), who has raised him to be a pretty nice person.  He learns that his missing dad (Michael James Spall) maybe the lynchpin of the whole group.

Smith says early that he wants to become a filmmaker, even though people say the movie business as we know it may die out.  Well it will certainly die in the plot of this film!
    
One problem with the film is that, apart from Smith himself, the other characters really don’t present themselves as particularly intriguing (whereas in the slower sci-fi “Judas Kiss” (June 4, 2011), all four male leads make themselves fascinating).  This may be a matter of the film’s intent (comedy), the writing, or the acting.  Yet, the film was well liked at Cannes and Sundance.
  
A couple of other pointers.  There are some disco scenes (as was the case with Judas), but I’ve never seen someone vomit on a disco floor before, in a film or in real life.  Well, and let’s skip to the end of the film. The nuclear weapons are a little more effective than intended, and the whole Earth blows up.  The same thing happens at the very end of my 1969 novel “The Proles” and I guess I’ve blogged that and given that little plot tip away before.  Somebody read it.
  
The official site is here (IFC and Wild Bunch).  The outdoor scenes were shot in LA, indoors in France. 

  

I watched it online on Netflix.  But apparently this had a presence in the lgtb and sci-fi festival sets.
   
The title of the film is sometimes spelled with a hyphen, "Ka-Boom".  

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