The Living End (2008)
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Movie InfoA gentle film critic hooks up with a violent drifter in this HIV-positive road movie, which marked the emergence of writer/director Gregg Araki into the art house mainstream. Jon (Craig Gilmore) has just learned he has the virus that causes AIDS. Still in a state of shock, he stumbles through his usual routine -- until he meets Luke (Mike Dytri), a hunky, gun-toting hitchhiker who has just stolen a car from a pair of homicidal lesbians and shot a trio of would-be gay bashers. Against his better judgment, Jon lets Luke stay at his place and soon finds himself drawn into the nihilistic stranger's world; it doesn't hurt that Luke is also HIV-positive and hot to get inside Jon's pants. Things take a Bonnie and Clyde turn when Luke kills a policeman. The pair go on the lam, first to San Francisco, then all over the western United States. Jon keeps his best friend, Darcy (Darcy Marta), apprised of his situation via a series of ever more infrequent collect calls. But as the road trip continues, Jon becomes increasingly disillusioned with Luke's belief that since they're doomed to die, they should lead consequence-free lives. Like Araki's later movies, The Living End is peppered with pop culture detritus and features a soundtrack heavy on industrial and alternative music -- in this case Psychic TV, Coil, and Fred Gianelli. Marta is a veteran of Araki's earlier Three Bewildered People in the Night, while several other cast members, including Gilmore, would go on to appear in the director's Totally F***ed Up. The Living End's many cameos include performance artist Johanna Went, Eating Raoul director Paul Bartel, Warhol associate Mary Woronov, and Peter Grame, star of the obscure European film Das Gluck Beim Haendewaschen. ~ Brian J. Dillard, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for The Living End
It is visually vibrant (in a wonderful on-the- cheap kind of way). But its insightful fury is undercut by thrashes of immaturity. It's engaged with culture and angry at it.
Audience Reviews for The Living End
I remember really liking this movie back in the 90's. Was excited to see it on DVD for rental. Well, I have to say I had forgotten most of the story apart from it being a road trip movie about two men living with AIDS, so I was interested to see if it was as good as I remembered.
Though it's obviously dated now, I still found it quite compelling viewing with a unique style. Craig Gilmore in particular is great as Jon. Very sympathetic character. Won't be for all, is pretty bleak and confronting, but I found it worth the rewatch.
A gripping road trip with the unique angle of having two HIV positive men take to the road to come to grips with their unsure future. Very good.More
Araki brings great ideas to the table, but his execution leaves a lot to be desired. The two lead actors are consistently unconvincing, so their love story has no emotional resonance. Since the film relies heavily on a connection with the doomed lovers, the low performance quality hurts it badly. Nevertheless, it's very much a product of its time, and that works in its favour somehow. This is a cult classic with lots of bright possibilities, but most of them are unfulfilled.More
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