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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Critic Reviews for Head On
Director Ana Kokkinos has an eye for local color but spends little time developing the supporting characters.
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.
Anyone of any generation who has ever felt at odds with his or her environment can identify with the characters in Head On.
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.
Strains so desperately for a tragic kitchen-sink realism that in several crucial scenes the movie loses its grip and escalates into strident melodrama.
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.
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.
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