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Reviewed by Larry Davis, © 2011

Format: Movie
By:   Gregg Araki (director)
Genre:   Sci-fi
Review Date:   March 31, 2011
RevSF Rating:   4/10 (What Is This?)

When one sees a film, it is a natural expectation that the title of the film has something to do with what actually goes on in the film.

As I watched, I wondered if the title referred to the deterioration of the plot as the film wound towards the end (kaboom!) or the collapse of the acting at about the same time (kaboom!).

Also, when one watches a film that is a non-linear as this one is, it is natural to try to understand what is happening. At first, the bizarre disconnects were reminiscent of Memento. But no, it is moving forward, not backward. Or maybe not. And the episodes where the protagonist (Smith) wakes up in bed after having what seemed to be a real-life experience was reminiscent of Neo’s first encounter with the agents in The Matrix. And there are agents, of a sort, maybe. Or is this some form of psychological unreality like Inception or Vanilla Sky?

Let’s move on from that and look at what happens in the film and maybe that will be a clue to what it is all about.

There is Smith who has bizarre dreams that include people he meets later for the first time. There is a witch who has a fatal attraction complex: there are people dying and reappearing alive (not zombies, though, that seems to be missing). And there are stalkers who wear animal masks and are only visible to Smith.

Hmmm, that doesn’t seem to help.

What else' Well, there’s sex. Lots of sex. Whatever kind of sex you like: straight, gay, lesbian, group, bondage, this film has it. But there’s nothing about it that is erotic, much less explicit, and not all that much skin. It’s just energetic, loud and casual.

So it really isn’t "a sci-fi story centered on the sexual awakening of a group of college students," as one description has it.

Is there good news? I’m happy to say there is.

The quality of acting by Thomas Dekker (Smith), Haley Bennett (Stella), and Juno Temple (London) as the three principal characters is outstanding. There were moments when I retreated from the storyline and just watched them act and it was quite impressive and enjoyable. You will remember Thomas Dekker as the young John Connor in The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

There’s more good news, kind of. By the end of the film, you will understand all the characters and all the mysteries. And surprisingly, everything, and I mean everything, is interrelated (except the sex, which is just there because it is).

Unfortunately, your increase in knowledge is inversely proportional to the decreasing quality of the acting and the descent of the storyline into cliche as the end approaches.

“You can’t go to the police. The police are part of it.”

See what I mean?

And in the last moments the meaning of the title becomes apparent. Finally. So if you like films with all sorts of seemingly unrelated strange things happening, some suspense because of it, lots of sex, and one where all the loose ends are tied up, even if carelessly, then Kaboom! to you.

See the Kaboom trailer here.

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