Going Nowhere?

Going Nowhere?

September 8, 2016

Nowhere (1997) starts with, Dark (James Duval), probably the main character, masturbating in the shower. He thinks about his fantasies with both women and men. As his orgasm climaxes, his mother knocks the door. She needs to wash off her green masque and deliberately tells him what an asshole of a son he is, the closed door dividing them. The movie unfolds into a series of mischievous situations and random personalities; some of them unable to act rational due to the clairvoyance of drugs in their blood or merely nihilistic puberty choices. In an amalgam of denigrating scenes edited as fast as the length of the film, one gets the notion of desperation and idle innuendo that excels into a story that shows nothing new but portrays ferociously a lost generation. 

On the other hand, the film displays interesting characters in its little story. A visual highlight is the rooms where the characters spend their time watching videos (sometimes evangelic talk shows that suggest the film is spiritually inspired by Less Than Zero), listening to music and/or fucking, in gloomy sanctuaries that fit with their surreal personalities. There’s a party. Someone nicknamed Jujyfruit (everybody has nicknames in this one: Dingbad, Handjob, Zero, Lucifer are some examples) will be the host of tonight’s party and everyone’s excited about it as if it was the freaking super bowl. That’s probably the case every night in a different house with these people. The sense of being captured inside a confusing place with confused people is well done. The brief violence works well too, and bits with no blood nor torture still leave a feeling of savagery.

The central “gang” decides to go “kick the can” first. They meet at this parking lot and have a blast with ecstasy and stupid games. One of them, Montgomery (Nathan Bexton) gets lost. They decide to “emigrate” to Jujyfruit’s party. In some other parts in town, things also happen. Our young man Zero (Joshua Gibran Mayweather) tries to impress the foxy Zoe (played by the ever-present-in-the-90s Mena Suvari) who is crazy about him. Other two lovers, are just crazy about fucking each other all the time in front of everybody. There’s one lame motorcyclist who thinks himself as the coolest guy ever, fucks this girl who is crazy about his dick with no mercy and kills a guy in Jujyfruit’s party leaving a mark of several liters of blood. Another guy, a celebrity whom everyone considers a fine artist, rapes this sweet/anorexic girl who later commits suicide. And one of our characters who is never conscious and has little dialogue burns himself in his oven. His parents watch. They scream in a weird language. Are we hallucinating the whole film? There’s also a maybe real, maybe imaginary lizard, walking in his two feet with a laser gun in his right hand.

The movie concludes with an expected confusing note. The true fact about the film is that nothing makes sense in this depiction of Los Angeles in the 90s. We might have been traveling inside an acidic brain the whole story. This decade has fame of being times where brains were disconnected from the literal, yet no one was attached to artifacts. Young ones were fooling around with no rules at video and record stores. Their parents did not care to ask what was going on. This movie contrasts that theme at times. Parents look normal and boring. Kids look crazy and anxious. Was that the way it was at that time? Of course our auteur, Gregg Araki, exaggerates everything visually in order to get an ocular trip for the post-modern inclined audiences. He succeeds in that. Yes, it is a good blend of absurd dialogue and adolescent impertinence. But the movie fails as a visual extravaganza and at the same time struggles to let the viewer figure out something before seventy-something minutes have passed. The movie nods its behavior to other  movies from the time like Trainspotting, Natural Born Killers, Slacker and Lost Highway. It’s not as good as those examples.

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