Mar 19, 2015

Review: Nowhere (1997)

Nowhere is the final film of Gregg Araki's Teen Apocalypse Trilogy. All about the teenage angst of the 90's, it follows very closely in the thematic footsteps of Totally F***ed Up and The Doom Generation. Content to remain very much on the fringe with tons of violence and sex, teenage alienation is the main subject it tries to tackle. James Duval also returns to play a new main character as he always does for these Araki films.

What's interesting about Nowhere is how it completely loses its mind with all the cameos. All the adult characters are played by actors or actresses who were once in famous American sitcoms or comedies from the 1970's and 1980's. You got Beverly D'Angelo of Vacation fame who plays Dark's (James Duval) mother for example. I'll admit that a lot of these cameos went over my head since I've never been a TV guy, but I do get the significance.


Genre: comedy, drama, sci-fi
Directed by: Gregg Araki
Produced by: Gregg Araki, Andrea Sperling, Nicole Arbib, etc.
Written by: Gregg Araki
Music by: N/A
Running time: 85 minutes
Production company: Blurco, Desperate Pictures, Union Générale Cinématographique, etc.
Distributed by: Fine Line Features, Alliance Home Video, PRO-FUN media Filmverleih, etc.
Country: United States, France
Language: English
Budget: N/A
Box office: $194,201 (North America)

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: James Duval, Rachel True, Nathan Bexton, Chiara Mastroianni, Debi Mazar, Kathleen Robertson, Joshua Gibran Mayweather, Jordan Ladd, Christina Applegate, Sarah Lassez, Guillermo Díaz, Jeremy Jordan, Alan Boyce, Jaason Simmons, Ryan Phillippe, Heather Graham, Scott Caan



Dark (James Duval) is deeply in love with Mel (Rachel True). He's unsure of where they are relationship-wise though since Mel enjoys having wide open relationships with many different partners. On a day where there's a huge party at Jujyfruit's (Gibby Haynes) house and a planned, drug-infused game of kick the can later on in the night, Dark tries to figure out where Mel and him stand.


Nowhere is just as offbeat and out there as Totally F***ed Up and The Doom Generation, possibly even more so. While watching it I started getting the feeling that it was maybe a bit too weird for its own good. It oozes alternative style and has a whole bunch of zany characters, but did Gregg Araki go a bit too far this time? I felt like he had lost me.

Waking up this morning and sleeping on it, my opinion of Nowhere has definitely improved. I suppose it's the kind of movie you need to think about a bit before you can come up with a proper opinion. Despite being only 85 minutes, there is a ton of stuff going on. There are a lot of different characters to keep track of, there's a lot of symbolism and commentary going on in the background and visually speaking, there's a lot to take in as well.

One thing that Gregg Araki demonstrates again and again is just how complicated love really is. Whether your a disenfranchised teenager like Dark or a so-called "cool girl" like Egg (Sarah Lassez), love hurts. Everyone seems to struggle with it in this drug-fed hallucination of Los Angeles and it makes for a pretty unique watching experience to say the least. Dark claims that his generation will see the end of everything and you believe him. That makes finding love even more important than ever.

I still don't really get the presence of the lizardman (Roscoe) in Nowhere though. In reality he's actually a space alien despite obviously being a man in a lizard suit.. Dark will see it from time to time, but he's unsure if it's simply an hallucination. It's not though and lizardman will randomly abduct certain characters, leaving behind retainers or chains. Maybe his job is just to adds another layer of surrealism? I can't really think of anything else. Maybe he really is an hallucination.

In terms of acting, James Duval was alright in Totally F***ed Up and even better in The Doom Generation. Where he was not much more than a simpleton in TDG, his character is a little bit more in Nowhere and Duval is even better this time around. He's got a surprisingly emotional scene in the bathroom during Jujyfruit's party and that definitely took me by surprise. The rest of the cast does a good job as well and makes sure that Araki's vision of LA hit by a cultural apocalypse is believable. 

Unfortunately. I just can't recommend Nowhere to most people. It's just not a movie for the masses and it's sure to shock and turn off most viewers. While I don't like it as much as The Doom Generation, I'd put it on the same level as Totally F***ed Up. Strange comparison here, but I'd actually compare the growth of Araki's Teen Apocalypse Trilogy to something like Robert Rodriguez's Mexico Trilogy in terms of how it grows in budget and in scale. That's the ONLY way they can be compared though because Nowhere and the rest of its siblings are like nothing else out there.



Related Reviews:

Totally F***ed Up (1993)
The Doom Generation (1995)

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