Mary Poppins Returns
Mission: Impossible - Fallout
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All Critics (6)
| Fresh (6)
| Rotten (0)
| DVD (2)
Life is f***ed up, Araki is saying, but it is worth living.
Gregg Araki's low budget, independent, vignette style experimental film has a palpable sense of anarchy. The film follows a group of gay and lesbian teenagers throughout Los Angeles. We get to know them and their experiences through a video camera.. The film is structured in about 14 chaotic segments featuring text, video clips, (fake) interviews and narrative film. The film may dip into schmaltz here and there due to the low craftsmanship and (non)actors, but it's fun, real and when it needs to be very heartfelt. The emotions and situations may be over stylized by Araki but they are at least variations on real life trials and tribulations. This is an intriguing little movie.
Side note: while the DVD lists the title as "Totally Fucked Up" nowhere in the film does a title card show up, so essentially it's untitled.
Araki breaks formal narrative rules for the sake of expressing his story the way he wants to. His approach to storytelling is fascinating; aligning cohesive images and scenes without tracing a deliberate story arc. A moody, affecting, heartfelt portrayal of teenage angst.
This film had all the ingredients and potential to be a big impressive film, but something just didn't work for me.
Although it covered all relevant areas, for me the issues covered were not quite shocking enough, we never really got into the minds of the characters, meaning that whilst you could be empathetic or sympathetic to the situations, it never raised any particular emotions, other than confirmation that this kind of thing happens all the time.
A fictionalized account of some of Gregg Araki's experiences growing up, and shot on deliberately amateurish-looking camcorder, Totally F***ed Up takes a little bit of getting used to, but is well worth sticking with. Chronicling the lives of a tight-knit group of gay and lesbian teenagers, the film starts with an interview technique that initially makes the bunch of characters seem pretty annoying and unlikable. Soon though, after listening to their naïve but genuine hopes, fears and dreams, you begin to warm to them. Broken into small chapters or segments with some very funny intertitles, the narrative appears at first random and non-linear but there are actually quite a few running threads and story arcs, the main one being the relationship between Andy (previously someone who declares he doesn't believe in love) and Ian.
Dated in terms of fashion, music and teen-speak, but tellingly still relevant in terms of attitude and particularly, the way in which sexuality can ghettoize people, Totally F***ed Up remains a successful (though not always subtle) exploration of what it means to be a gay teenager.
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