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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Action > Crime > Sex > Robbery > Murder > Gay > Hate Crime > The Doom Generation - Unrated Director's Cut (1995/Lionsgate)

The Doom Generation (1995/Lionsgate)

 

Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: C-     Film: C

 

 

When the Gay New Wave hit, one named that got discussed often was that of writer/director Gregg Akari, in part because he was willing to go further than just about any of the other directors when it came to raw violence and subject matter.  However, after watching The Living End (1992) about a couple of gay males in their 20s going on a road trip rampage furious that they are both HIV-positive, I was not very impressed.  Only the subject matter really got it any attention and Akari continued to make more films.  The Doom Generation followed three years later.

 

In many ways, it is the same film and you know you are in trouble (and being fibbed to) that the opening credits dub “a heterosexual film by” the director.  Rose McGowan plays a party gal with something to hide, dating a younger man (James Duval, the “rabbit guy” from Donnie Darko) both enjoying music, drinking, dancing, food and sex.  They even get involved with an older guy (Johnathon Schaech) whose sexuality challenges the boyfriends, but he is more interested in acting nuts than having sex, at first.

 

Turns out the party gal has a very checkered past that has left so many sour, that several would really like to literally kill her.  It does not help that her crazy, toxic, dysfunctional behavior keeps landing them in stupid situations only their new buddy barely gets them out of each time… for a while.

 

This is the uncut version of the film with plenty of near-hardcore sex (his choices are interesting) and bold violence, but despite fine performances by the leads and cameos by the likes of Parker Posey, Perry Farrell and Margaret Cho, the film is ultimately a self-impressed mess with some very problematic plot points, ridiculous moments of silly violence followed by very graphic violence and an eventual search for some kind of gayness in heterosexual men that it cannot work its way to conclude.

 

Since al the characters are heterosexual in some way, is this to say the title refers to straight slackers in the 1990s?  If so, it does not begin to try to explore or ask questions on how that works.  Though better than The Living End (inaccurately dubbed a gay Thelma & Louise, since Akari is light-years away from Ridley Scott) and this had the potential for greatness if he could back up his sensationalism, The Doom Generation sadly implodes just when it dares to show and take on some themes and ideas serious non-XXX cinema barely deals with.

 

The ultimate contrivance is when Neo-Nazi skinheads show up.  They taunt them like all of her other enemies, but become the ones to catch up with them.  Unless someone edited and flipped the film wrong, the Swastikas are pointing the wrong way and by the end, it seems like key footage is still missing from the film.  The result is that Akari thinks lingering in the world of sex, danger, crazy behavior and violence is sufficient to make a good film.  Once again, he was wrong.  Too bad, because there is some talent there behind the camera; if only he could get it under control and say things that only more than he understands.

 

The 1.33 X 1 image has good composition if you do a 16 X 9/1.78 X 1 zoom in with a widescreen TV, but Akari is at least good at block-style framing.  Unfortunately, detail and depth are an issue, while color is barely consistent.  The original sound was in the infamous analog Ultra Stereo format, which is even more distorted than old analog Dolby A-type, but the Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo here tries to offer surrounds and it is not too good.  This is Lionsgate’s recycling of the old Trimark DVD.  For HD, Akari will need to redo the sound as well.  There is very brief text on the three actors and four trailers (including one for this film) as the only extras.

 

 

-   Nicholas Sheffo


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