Kaboom is a recent film by Gregg Araki, a director I'm not familiar with, but who appears to have plenty of potential and creativity. Thomas Dekker (John Conner from Sarah Conner Chronicles) plays Smith, an ambiguously bisexual college student who is suffering from nightmares and visions that deal with a range of oddities—assassins in animal masks, long corridors ending in mystery doors, and faces of people he's never seen before. Smith's college life is a mix of strange encounters and an enviable amount of sex. He chills with his high school friend Stella (Haley Bennet), while pining after his outrageously metrosexual roommate Thor (beautifully, dumbly played by Chris Zylka). At a party he meets a new special friend, London (Juno Temple), and that sparks a bizarre series of events and coincidences culminating in a revelation that encompasses pretty much everyone. I can't really detail much more without spoiling a lot of the fun of the film.
Kaboom has been referred to as the new Donnie Darko, but that's a pretty tall order. The fault lies in the attempt to knit all the weirdness into a reasonably cohesive package that doesn't feel like it's been wrapped up in five minutes. But that's exactly what happens. I was riveted by the mystery until the last 30 seconds.
The revelation of the plan spills out of the mouths of key players (who pop up for that single purpose) so fast that it actually does provide a lot of humour as the characters try to take in all the outrageous explanations with the audience.
|How I looked watching the final 30 seconds.|
It feels like Araki had a string of interesting and crazy ideas he wanted to put in a movie, built up a cast of fleshed out characters, and found there was no way to suitably give the ending any justice.
That leaves me divided on the final verdict, because Araki could have simply tempered the weirdness a bit and focused on the people, and it would have remained a fun movie. There are ways of reading meaning into the ending given the themes of the film, but part of me left thinking it was writer's block. That being said, I'm less angry about the conclusion now than I was watching it. So be warned. I recommend Kaboom as a sexy, beautiful, fun ride, but it will be over before you know it.