Login

The Living End Review

Image for The Living End

Luke is an anarchic gay hustler who crashes into the car of gay critic Jon. Both are HIV-positive and get together for a hedonistic no-holes-barred road trip.

★★★★

From the "Fuck the World" slogan at its start to the closing dedication to the "hundreds of thousands who have died and will die because of a Big White House full of Republican fuckheads," it is obvious that Gregg Araki's film desperately wants to be an angry, nihilistic, anti-establishment Thelma & Louise for gay men. Instead, it ends up as a road trip from hell with two fatalistic and fatally dull HIV-positive tour guides.

After stealing a big gun (oo-er) from two caricatured man-hating dykes, and then blowing away three bat-wielding gay-bashers, violent drifter Luke (Dytri) runs down the car of despondent journalist Jon (Gilmore), who's just been dealt the news of his positive test results, and a lust affair begins. When Luke returns one day with the news that he has inadvertently plugged a cop (offscreen), the lovebirds head off into the wild yonder, with no final destination or goal in mind other than how often they can have sex.

Executed with all the familiar limitations of low-budget fare, this also abuses that tired gimmick of plugging plot gaps with camp but pointless cameos, and still expects the audience to take the depressing central relationship seriously. There is the basis for a sharp, thoughtful movie here, but Jon's rash conversion to anarchy and professed love for leather-clad sociopath Luke is nonsensical, and Araki is so busy trying to forge a bleakly anarchistic mood he forgets what, if anything, his point was

By the time the deathwish duo embark into mountainous terrain, you'll want to hand them a copy of Thelma & Louise's road map — with clearly marked directions to the cliff

More from Empire