Monday, 9 April 2012


Kaboom tells the story of student Smith (Thomas Dekker), a bisexual fresher who spends his days bitching with his best friend Stella (Haley Bennett), lusting after his surfer-dude roommate Thor (Chris Zylka) and having meaningless sex with the free spirited London (Juno Temple). Following what may or may not have been a drug-induced hallucination things take a strangely supernatural twist which ends in a clash of cults and conspiracies.

It’s a colourfully kinetic romp which zips along at a fair old pace, features an impressive soundtrack from the likes of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Interpol, and some good performances from the leads. That’s not to say, however, that it’s a particularly good film.

Director Gregg Araki seems to have no clear vision as to what he wants his movie to be. At times it’s a teen-romp, at others a noirish thriller – and eventually it’s a supernatural conspiracy flick. As a result Kaboom is more of a flashily made mess than a cohesive whole.

It’s almost saved by the acting. There are no duff performances at all from a likeable ensemble of young actors. Dekker is a charismatic lead: he’s all eyelashes and fringe – half Ian Somerhalder, half Tim Minchin. Temple and Bennett, too, are likeably spiky presences. That they manage to give such charming performances is still more remarkable given some of the execrable dialogue they are forced to utter – not least Dekker’s assertion that, “I needed to clear my head so I went to a nude beach”. As you do.

Thankfully, there’s plenty to look at when the script gets too much. It’s rarely more than a few minutes between shots of naked breasts or chests as the characters couple off (and more) in every conceivable combination. A vibrant colour palate and plenty of close-ups of Dekker’s dreamy visage also ensure there’s plenty to catch the eye.

The plot, however, is where this film really falls apart. As kidnappings, supernatural lesbianism and men in animal masks barge into the action the narrative really begins to unravel. It’s not confusing – it’s just stupid. Perhaps Araki would have been better off making two movies rather than ramming too many competing ideas into this one.

Whilst never dull, Kaboom is infuriatingly inconsequential. But if a few neat one-liners and a visual feast are what you’re after, it might just fit the bill. Although unlike the characters portrayed, you’re unlikely to end with a satisfactory climax.

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