Saturday, 2 October 2010
Doom Generation (1995) is the second instalment of Gregg Araki’s Teenage Apocalypse Trilogy. It plays like a comic book, fast, furious and as colourful as skittle vomit.
James Duval stars as Jordan White, a naïve Bambi figure caught in the glaring headlights. His girlfriend is Amy Blue, played by Rose McGowan whose personality is defined by her attitude. Into the equation comes Xavier Red, (Jonathan Schaech) landing on their car bonnet and prompting an impulsive road trip (the word ‘trip’ being used in the most literal sense).
As in Totally Fucked Up (1993), the journey here is unclear. The kids don’t have any sense of identity and no knowledge of their purpose in life. Araki intelligently twists the labelling of TFU by creating parodies of slogans, ‘shoplifters will be executed’ states one convenience store, seconds before the tables are turned and the clerk is decapitated, his severed head left garbling mushy peas.
Doom Generation is undeniably comparable to Natural Born Killers (1994), but with a mere fraction of the budget and the addition of a third person. Set in a series of cheap motels and back-screened car journeys all smeared with outrageous pop art aesthetic. The soundtrack is a 90’s shoe-gazers wet dream, featuring the likes of Curve, Cocteau Twins, Lush, Ride and Belly all of which compliment Araki’s psychedelic pace.
The three protagonists carry the confusion on their shoulders without a hint of irony. The acting is of a soap-opera degree which is purposeful and absolutely necessary. Jordan and Amy’s love life was bordering on stagnant before the arrival of Xavier – the metaphorical sexual awakening. There is tension between the colour coded characters throughout, a strong sexual undercurrent that unfortunately comes to a head in a riotous and bloody conclusion that will leave you asking ‘What just happened?’ or in the case of epileptics, leave you shaking in your seat and in desperate need of a spoon.
Araki continues his theme of teenage experimentation pitted against social convention. Society is represented here by gang culture and a violent mentality. The conclusion, unlike the rest of the movie is deadly serious. It is almost as if you’ve swallowed Araki’s pill, slipped into a state of compliancy and then your cornered, appalled, shocked, repulsed Bang! Bang! Bang! Convention wins. Where can Araki take the aimlessly hedonistic teens after this?
Answer: Nowhere (1997): post coming soon.