As an avid movie geek, I’m always interested in what other people have to say about a film, beyond critics. Perusing the message boards for these movies, I was astonished at just how many people didn’t ‘get’ what Araki was doing.
For one, you must give credit to him for the sharp, satirical, and downright original dialogue. The insults are hilarious and refreshing compared to the cuss words readily available in the English language today.
Second, the screenplay, costumes and cinematography are surreal and spot-on for the ‘doom generation’ that was the 90s. The motel rooms in
“Doom Generation” were trippy to say the least, in the same vein as “A Clockwork Orange.” The films contain eye-opening billboards, signs and messages in the background that believe it or not are contributing to the message of the film as a whole. All 90s trends, from chains, flannel, and Converse to plastic, neon and pleather, are all accounted for.
Third, the music used in the films is fantastic. Artists featured include 16 Volt, Red House Painters, His Name is Alive, Pale Saints, Coil, Babyland, Slowdive, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Aphex Twin, Ride, Catherine Wheel, Massive Attack, Hole, Marilyn Manson, Sonic Youth, Filter, Nine Inch Nails and more.
In “Nowhere” we are introduced to aliens, plenty of neon colors, bisexual love and a bench that says ‘God Help Me.’ In “Doom Generation” we see that 666 is used in regards to money, the characters last names equal ‘Red, White, & Blue,’ and the characters cry for the death of a dog but not the death of people (not to mention a Nazi symbol amid the American flag).
In “Doom Generation” there’s also a theme of threes: There are three main characters, three people who came back to kill Amy, Blue and Red have sex three times, and Red says his relationships last three hours or three days. (Of course, there’re three movies in the trilogy).
My favorite character in all three films is that played by James Duval. The open-minded, slightly burnt-out but philosophic character tends to die at the end of these movies. What does that mean? That evil triumphs over good on this planet? That peace is a futile notion? Only Araki knows.
No, Araki’s movies aren’t perfect and therefore aren’t award-worthy by societies’ standards, but I enjoy being one of the rare Araki fans who gets to enjoy his movies in private. His films are worth watching, but prepare to watch the weirdly demented transform into something strangely rational.