Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Splendor (USA. 1999)

Queer film pioneer Gregg Araki applies his directorial/writing skills to a relatively straight romantic comedy...Kind of... The plot does revolve around a girl having to deal with being the centre of a polygamous relationship, but the film doesn't have a transgressive bone in its body. The shock tactics Araki hung entire narratives on (Doom Generation, Nowhere, The Living End) have taken their leave. Everything played for oh-so-goofy laughs! It's so wacky to have two boyfriends! All that's left in his toolbox is lots of unmotivated colored lighting, some painfully forced 'hip' style, and one completely unlikable main character. We're supposed to sympathize with her plight ("Oh! How can I decide!?") but selfish decisions at every turn actually had me rooting for her two boyfriends to get on with their life and let her suffer with her idiotic decisions.

Sadly, it was not to be.

If you're a die-hard Araki completist, SPLENDOR does stand as an interesting experiment, (especially when compared to his next film, the much more mature and accomplished MYSTERIOUS SKIN). It feels like he's getting all of his stylistic ticks out of his systems so he can move on to something else.

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