Review: The Doom Generation (18) / Director: Gregg Araki / Screenplay: Gregg Araki / Starring: Rose McGowan, James Duval, Johnathon Schaeche / Release Date: Out Now
A hedonistic rampage of a road movie full of gore, sex and murder. Amy Blue (Rose McGowan), Jordan White (James Duval) and Xavier Red (Jonathon Schaech) go on the run after an unfortunate encounter with a shotgun, a convenience store owner and a severed head. At times ultra-violent but it comes with a keen sense of humour and an intelligent angst ridden edge. The Doom Generation is part of Gregg Araki’s “Teenage Apocalypse Trilogy” the other films being Totally Fucked Up and Nowhere.
Greg Araki first presented this film in 1995 as a response to sexual issues of the time; in an interview with the director (an excellent feature on the DVD) he reflects on this film, and speaks of how worries about AIDS and death were on his mind. This film represents the music and mood of the nineties underground with Nine Inch Nails and The Jesus and Mary Chain featuring on the soundtrack. It is filled with the anger and the naivety of youth. This trio of latch-key kids are exploring all kinds of sexual curiosity but not without consequences. Amy’s sexual past is quite literally haunting her on the road trip. Along the way violence is fuelled by chance meetings with ex- partners spurned with jealousy who want to kill her and chop off her boyfriend’s dick. It’s all delivered with extreme gore and daftness. The fun has to come to an end at some point though and the final scene delivers some harsh reality that feels much darker than the rest of the film. Araki is trying to make a point and his characters speak his mind, “Sex - I think it’s more powerful than we would like it to be.”
Araki uses close up camera angles and lingering moments to create stifling sexual tension between the three characters. He has created an extravagant piece that has some fun moments of gore, the highlight being a garbling severed head, but there is much more to this excursion. The characters reactions to human suffering and death depict the desensitisation of the culture. Troubled youth and discontent will always be relevant and this slice of time stands up to the current mood. He also pokes fun at the mainstream press with bland news presenters overanalysing and patronising their audience. Nothing much has changed, just the clothes, music and hair, although they are making a comeback.
A low budget feature that excels at inventive set design including a checkerboard bedroom and a lavish rouge boudoir that screams “have sex in me!”. It’s excessive but it works. A fun ride that comes to an abrupt, cruel end and has a lot more to say than first meets the eye.