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The Doom Generation
Palace Films/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 86 mins . R . PAL


A heterosexual movie by Gregg Araki, what the? After watching this movie you may think that a little ambiguus. This film is a collection of good ideas, filmed in such a pedestrian way. What we have here is a road movie in the vein of Natural Born Killers meets Easy Rider; done in probably the worst possible way. The symbolism and the message Mr Araki was trying to get across are somewhat pretentious and done so heavy handed that I found myself rolling my eyes occasionally at the antics on screen.

The film begins with a typical troubled youth™ couple Jordan White (James Duval) & Amy Blue (Rose McGowan) stopping to pick up another troubled youth™ Xavier Red or X! (Johnathon Schaech). Immediately after picking up X is where the mayhem begins. What follows lacks rhyme or reason in my opinion, as the trio embark on a somewhat accidental killing spree, and are pursued by some colourful characters along the way. As the film meanders along, the trio become an item and start sharing each other physically with barely a sense of intimacy. The story struggles and the banal and over the top dialogue make it hard to get inside the characters heads and understand their purpose. You feel sometimes like you have just witnessed a road accident. You don’t know how or why it happened, except that it just happened.

According to some reviews this type of dialogue and acting is intentional and is a style employed in Gregg Araki’s films, The Doom Generation being the middle of what has been loosely described as a “90210 On Acid Trilogy” comprising of the film before it “Totally F***ed Up” and the sequel “Nowhere”.

The Doom Generation is a let down considering some of the talent on offer as Rose McGowan will no doubt be familiar to all as Paige from TV’s Charmed as well as films like Jawbreaker, and Scream. James Duval went on to become one of the creepiest poster boys as “Frank The Giant Rabbit” in 2001’s Cult Classic Donnie Darko. But I suppose you have to start somewhere I guess.


One word comes to mind. Ugly! This could be the worst transfer I have seen served up in such a long time. There has been no attention to detail here and it shows. The print used for the transfer looks like it has been to “Film Hell” and back, full of scratches and marks that proved somewhat distracting by the end of the film. Blacks were terrible and looked grey coupled with colour appearing washed out. Overall the image lacked definition and struggled with the darker scenes. A real problem considering most of the film takes place at night. Notwithstanding the films modest budget things could have been better with regards to the image.

The feature is presented in the 4:3 Pan & Scan format, obviously not widescreen enhanced. I am yet to find the original aspect ratio listed anywhere. As the region 1 version of the film is also served up the same way. Judging by the framing I would hazard a guess and say it’s closer to 1.85:1 as there doesn’t appear to me much detail lost either side of the frame within the composition. Still perfectly unacceptable if you ask me, with the film garnering somewhat of a cult following over the years, you would think it would have been approached with some care. You would have to be a hardcore fan to tolerate this transfer.

Much like the video, the bare minimum has been supplied here. We are burdened with a rather ordinary Dolby Digital 2.0 track encoded at 192 Kb/s. The Pro Logic II chip in my amp sent very little info to the surrounds. Audio is adequately spread across the front soundstage creating a reasonable stereo image. Dialogue was a little hard to hear sometimes, it could have been brought up a touch in the mix.

The only highlight of the soundtrack in my opinion is the music supplied by artists like Nine Inch Nails, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Front 242, Babyland, God Lives Underwater, Coil and Porno for Pyros. Trainspotters will see Perry Farrell make a brief cameo as well as the industrial band Skinny Puppy. Most of these bands are the ones your mother probably warned you about, lest you end up like the protagonists of the story here. If you are fan, you’ll be pleased to hear them here no doubt.

Compiled for a somewhat mediocre attempt at extras is a Photo Gallery, Filmographies of the Cast & Crew and a selection of trailers including Head On, Chopper, Judas Kiss and Nowhere.

I don’t know if it’s just me here being the jaded old fart approaching 30 or what. But considering I would have been 20 when this was released in 1995, I honestly think I still would have struggled to glean any artistic merit in what Gregg Araki was trying to do here given the targeted age group of his audience.

Brett Easton Ellis did it so much better in his books Less Than Zero, The Rules of Attraction, and The Informers in my opinion, two of which turned into decent films. It’s hard to determine where it all went wrong with The Doom Generation; personally I feel the story telling is the culprit here as I really didn’t give a hoot about the characters. Perhaps the film itself is a victim of it’s F@#k You Attitude. Mr Araki showed some promise here with interesting camerawork, but sadly wasn’t enough to stave off the tragedy that this film turned into during my long 86 minutes with it.

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  •   And I quote...
    ""Perhaps the film itself is a victim of it’s F@#k You Attitude""
    - Anthony Bethell
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