“Totally F***ed Up” Review ✦✦✦✦✧

10 December, 2016

Year of Release: 1993
Director: Gregg Araki
Screenwriter: Gregg Araki
Director of Photography: Gregg Araki
Cast: James Duval, Roko Belic

Synopsis: Presented in a mockumentary format, Totally F***ed Up captures the day-to-day struggles of a group of gay teenagers as they celebrate their place on the outskirts of society while also facing up to the reality of being ostracised.

Totally F***ed Up Review:

Released over two decades ago, Gregg Araki’s “Totally F***ed Up” is an unseen film within the New Queer Cinema movement but it has a frankness that’s rarely showcased in the teen movies of today. Presented as the opening chapter to Araki’s angst-ridden ‘Teenage Apocalypse Trilogy,’ the movie is soaked in irony but its sympathy for a bunch of homosexual Gen-X youngsters has preserved it in time as a candid photograph of an era where being gay was still edgy.

Informed by the peculiarities of a bunch of drug-taking, punk rock, egocentric liberals, “Totally F***ed Up” exposes a world that still exists today. It peels back the layers on a self-deprecating community who are so often dissatisfied and critical towards one another, yet Araki somehow manages to bring everyone together as he shows diversity by refusing to put his characters on a path towards a definitive goal. Confusion is part of growing up and Araki never panders towards the narcissism of adolescence. He merely shows it as being a flawed yet natural part of becoming your true self.

At the centre of the movie is James Duval, an actor remembered for his brief role as Frank in “Donnie Darko,” but one who was only cast in Richard Kelly’s later movie because of his previous significance within teen genre. He’s the face of the trilogy and the time period, always looking for someone or something to blame within his lonely state of self-absorption. There’s no aggression here and no sense of entitlement as much of the dialogue is drowned out by music, police sirens, or background chatter. The kids are stifled by their environment, they don’t claim it as their own. They’re lost and dissatisfied in a world where they simply want to belong; a world where the answers are never easy to find.


Review Date
Totally F***ed Up