The Living End

There's nothing about Asian American identity in this self-described “irresponsible movie,” unless you count the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle water bottle filled with Jack Daniels. Gregg Araki's allegiance lies elsewhere-within the milieu of 1990s gay youth culture. When boy meets boy in this anarchic road movie, a nihilistic momentum is already in place. Jon (Craig Gilmore), a somewhat inhibited L.A.-based film critic, gets the med alert that he's HIV-positive; his partner in crimes of passion, Luke (Mike Dytri), a buff street hustler, is already rocketing on some HIV-inspired death fantasies. The two set off on a reckless odyssey, often dubbed a queer Thelma and Louise, fuelled by rough sex, fast food, and salty soul-searching. Marked by a savage and energetic style echoing early Godard, Araki's arresting feature injects its HIV outcasts with an ironic lust for life. Instead of a death warrant, Jon and Luke find a mad love that frees them from the restraints of society and sickness.

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