Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Nowhere (1997)

Nowhere posterDirector: Gregg Araki
Stars: James Duval, Kathleen Robertson, Christina Applegate, Heather Graham
Genre: Black Comedy, Surrealism, Drama, Satire

What in the world can I even say about this film? What in the world even is this film? I don't know. It's the third and final film in Araki's Teenage Apocalypse trilogy, the first two being Totally Fucked Up (1993) and The Doom Generation (1995). This one is definitely the craziest of the lot.

It's really just about some teenagers dealing with relationship/sexual/whatever problems, but all the meanwhile there are reptilians from outer space abducting people and tons of crazy stuff going on. The entire film is very surreal. 

As with the other films in the trilogy, there is an apocalyptic overture and it is constantly hinted that the world is about to end. Personally I love this atmosphere and it adds a real sense of dread and nothingness to the films. Nothing really makes sense in this film, it's as if the fabrics of reality are being torn, with weird camera angles and shots that constantly cut in and out. Tons of odd and surreal things happen, like aliens, or even just really odd behavior.

All the sets, or places where the scenes are shot, are very bizarre, even more so than in The Doom Generation. Walls are often covered in polka dots or writing or anything else you can imagine. It's a very stylish film actually, and even the costume design has a very twisted and odd fashion to it. It definitely helps set the weird factor of the film and makes it very visually pleasing in the process. 

It has a very '90s feel to it, but also manages to have a retro, futuristic and entirely unique presentation as well.

To me the film tries, and succeeds in, truly capturing the feeling of adolescence. Being a teenager is confusing, weird, depressing, and very often makes completely no sense and feels as if the world is ending. Gregg Araki captures those feeling and presents them on screen perfectly, perhaps in this film more than any of his others. He manages to makes the surreal dramatic and realistic. I think anybody who remembers growing up can relate to this film and admit that it captures the anxiety of being a kid. I have no problem calling this film genius. 

James Duval and friends in Nowhere

Also, this film, and I exaggerate only slightly, has the greatest ending in cinematic history. Ever of all time, ever. It's brilliant. [Spoiler:] Also, it tells us that no matter how good your life seems to be getting, and just when things appear normal, it really never stops being weird and confusing.

The soundtrack is awesome (of course it is, it's an Araki film). You have Sonic Youth, Nine Inch Nails, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Coil, Radiohead, The The, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, Hole, Marilyn Manson, and more.

An example of superb set design in Nowhere

James Duval plays the lead role, returning from the past two films in the trilogy, and he does a great job as usual. Charm to watch.

"God help me" from Nowhere

There are a ton of cameos and early appearances in here, and you'll probably recognize a lot of faces. Traci Lords, Rose McGowan, Debi Mazar, Denise Richards, Shannen Doherty, Gibby Haynes, Charlotte Rae, Jordan Ladd, Jaason Simmons, Eve Plumb, Christopher Knight, John Ritter, and tons more. Yeah, there's a lot.

An alien from Nowhere

If you're not sure whether or not to watch this, know this: in this film, Nowhere, a man beats another man to death with a can of chicken noodle soup. Cinematic first, anyone? Also space aliens. And great cinematography and art direction. Do I really have to say anymore? 

5/5 stars
Pros:
+Great atmosphere, set & costume design and imagery; visually pleasing and stylish
+Great cinematography
+Bizarre 
+Captures the confusion of adolescence
+Awesome ending
+Tons of great actors

Purchase Nowhere on Amazon: DVD - VHS
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