Monday, June 27, 2005

Totally F***ed Up (1994)

Artsy portrait of a group of gay friends living in L.A. is impassioned and compassionate and generally not bad. Surprise, surprise: Gregg Araki has a heart after all. It's interesting to wonder where his developing talent may have taken him had he not vanished up the asshole of irony for several years. The confrontational title speaks to the anger and disenfranchisement felt by the characters, but unlike Araki's more infamous later work there's also room for fun and camaraderie. Occasionally, there's even a slight glimmer of happiness, though it never lasts. It kind of feels like the sloppy punk-rock kid brother of Van Sant's My Own Private Idaho. Like most punk-rock-style filmmaking, it's far from perfect -- the film looks cheap, even with Araki's impressively developing eye, and it's got some awful acting too. (I've never liked James Duval in anything -- he's like Keanu Reeves on Thorazine.) But it's got a soul, and that makes it feel vital.

Grade: B-

[POSTSCRIPT: I believe I am the first person ever to review this without bringing up Jean-Luc Godard. Thanks buds.]


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