I recently reviewed Gregg Araki’s film from 1992, The Living End, which was my introduction to his work. It’s pretty good and I really like the ambition from Araki but I needed some more content to see what else he could do. Totally F***ed Up is the first part in the Teenage Apocalypse Trilogy and an important film when it comes to the New Queer Cinema movement. Each film in the trilogy stands alone plot wise but they all showcase young gay people dealing with life.
Totally F***ed Up starts and never let’s up with each character coming across their own obstacles. The film is scattered and relentless but it’s centered around six young gay people living in Los Angeles named Andy, Tommy, Michele, Patricia, Steven, and Deric. They get kicked out of their homes by their parents, harassed by people, and constantly used and abused. It all comes to a dark and thought provoking finale that leaves you truly wondering.
I like The Living End, but I kind of fell in love with Totally F***ed Up. It’s got characters that are painfully real and enough style to fill an entire career. Araki is clearly influenced by Jean-Luc Godard’s work from the 60’s as he uses similar tropes and tempo for his films. I will definitely check out the next two parts in the Teenage Apocalypse Trilogy when I get the chance and I will keep my eye out for more of his films in general. I found James Duval and Roko Belic to be pretty special in Totally F***ed Up as Andy and Tommy but all six of the main actors are solid and the direction from Araki is pure genius.