With The Doom Generation, his fifth and most audacious film to date, LA guerrilla filmmaker Gregg Araki proves that, given a reasonable budget (less than $1 million), he can produce a stunning film with superlative production values. A nihilistic comedy about a trio of alienated youngsters, pic is bold not only in its art design, but also in its narrative and tone, a mixture of satire and horror with heavy dosage of steamy sex and macabre violence.
Amy Blue (Rose McGowan), a beautiful, spoiled 17-year-old, her sweet suburban b.f., Jordan White (James Duval), and Xavier Red (Johnathon Schaech), a mysterious drifter, embark on an outlandish trip after Xavier blows off the head of a convenience store clerk. The trio flee into a bizarre world of nightmarish violence and omnipresent danger that gets darker and darker as their odyssey progresses.
Pic’s ‘quieter’ moments are provided by stops along the road, in fantastically designed motels, in which the threesome explore their anomie – and sexuality. For a film bluntly described in the opening titles as ‘heterosexual,’ story is overripe with homoerotic overtones.
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Most of the film’s violence is played tongue-in-cheek, with hilarious stagings of a severed head or amputated arm flying through the air.
In the lead role, the debuting McGowan is incredibly photogenic, commanding the screen with the ease and assuredness of a pro. Duval, who looks and acts like a younger Keanu Reeves, renders a quieter perf, while Schaech projects the kind of eroticism that’s both appealing and repellant.