Going into the festival there were a select few films that I had earmarked as definites for viewing: Wall Street 2 was top of the list, and closely following it was Gregg Araki’s Kaboom, a delightfully intriguing prospect for anyone familiar with Araki’s body of work.
Araki is one of those indie-darling, festival veterans who has never really cemented the promise his earlier works showed into a sustainable breakthrough into mainstream cinema, even despite great critical acclaim for Mysterious Skin, and even some of his lesser known productions. And I for one always lamented a cross-over that might bring with it more Araki films, but I seems that I grossly underestimated the director.
No-one who left the mid-afternoon screening could possibly have been left in any doubt that Araki has no intention of ever making that breakthrough, or that he positively wallows in his classification as a fringe film-maker. Kaboom was a great big two-fingered salute to anyone who thought he might be making a conscious attempt to make widely accessible films in any way, and it was a ludicrous, incredibly confusing, but wildly enjoyable offering at that.
It looks like Araki has consciously moved back to his earlier loves, wild key changes and genre-blends that can be nauseatingly difficult to balance, while the presence of James Duval- Araki’s muse of sorts- is an even more explicit inference that Araki is shifting his tone back to somewhere around his Teen Apocalypse Trilogy- comprised of Totally Fucked Up (1993), The Doom Generation (1995) and Nowhere (1997)- and that the marked difference of Mysterious Skin was merely a meander from his real artistic manifesto.