Head On (1999) - Rotten Tomatoes

Head On (1999)



Critic Consensus: Head On's narrative rambles at times, but its raw, sensual approach creates a powerful, resonant rumination on identity.

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Movie Info

This bold feature homes in on the confused world of its 19-year-old hero, Ari. Over a 24-hour period he confronts both his sexuality and his Greek background. Uncompromising and dynamic, pic, adapted from the book LOADED by Christos Tsiolkas, is bound to provoke debate and perhaps even censorship problems, but the filmmakerÕs honesty and compassion should guarantee solid reviews. Ari is obsessed with sex, and has several sexual encounters during the filmÕs brief time span, most of them gay, through he does make a half-hearted attempt to fulfill the sister of one of his best friends. At the same time, heÕs facing problems with his traditional Greek parents, who have no clue about his sexual - and drug taking - activities.

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Critic Reviews for Head On

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (10)

Director Ana Kokkinos has an eye for local color but spends little time developing the supporting characters.

April 1, 2010 | Full Review…

In a way, the film is a kissing cousin to the 1960s kitchen sink dramas of the British cinema and the working-class angst of German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

February 24, 2005 | Full Review…

Anyone of any generation who has ever felt at odds with his or her environment can identify with the characters in Head On.

February 7, 2001 | Full Review…

The film's close is grim and ambivalent, a choice that would be commendable if the movie had not so stubbornly held the same dour tone for two hours already, and if Ari weren't as boring as he is bored.

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Strains so desperately for a tragic kitchen-sink realism that in several crucial scenes the movie loses its grip and escalates into strident melodrama.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 1.5/5

One of this year's most sensual tragic spectacles -- a tour-de-force on a thousand different levels, with no easy happy endings in sight.

January 1, 2000
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Head On


Straight from the off this film begins with a natural, well acted plot, with a good role played by Alex Dimitriades. The realisticness of the film, does make it feel a little slow moving, but remains an enjoyable watch throughout. In his duel cultural background, the character struggles to please his family and struggles to hide his sexuality of which he, himself finds is also finding hard to accept. Drug fuelled binges provides him with escapism, whilst denying himself the one thing that could make him happy.

Lady D'arbanville
Lady D'arbanville

Super Reviewer

One of the most depressing but gripping 'struggle in the closet' films I have ever seen, with a fantastic, charismatic and emotive performance from anti-hero Alex Dimitriades (who, judging from his IMDB page, needs to get a better agent). It's a niche subject perhaps, which is then squeezed into another minority - a traditional Greek family - but it's expertly written and played and actually has broad appeal. Ari's downward spiral (he starts close to the gutter and disappears into it by the time of the slightly rushed, bleaker than bleak ending) is gripping and entirely believable, the Aussie streets have a grimy/murky, hellish feel and some of the lines cross the boundaries of sexy/disturbing/distressing ("don't spill it"). Kinetic direction and a brilliant (and now nostalgic) soundtrack both ground and enhance a very good film. Pity about the off-putting poster art.

Daniel Parsons
Daniel Parsons

Super Reviewer

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