French theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Gregg Araki|
|Written by||Gregg Araki|
|Edited by||Gregg Araki|
A science fiction story centered on the sexual adventures of a group of college students and their investigation of a bizarre cult, the film premiered at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, where it was awarded the first ever Queer Palm for its contribution to lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender issues.
Smith is an 18-year-old film student who identifies sexually as "undeclared". He has been having strange dreams. He is going to college with his best friend, Stella, whom he has known since junior high. Smith finds a note saying that he is the "chosen son". He has a roommate, Thor, whom he lusts after, regretting that Thor is straight. Stella goes to a party with Smith, but hooks up with another girl, Lorelei. He recognizes Lorelei as one of the people in his dream. Smith notices a guy, but is distracted when a red-haired girl from his dream vomits on his shoe. The guy vanishes, but Smith gets picked up by London, a British student. They have sex, but to Smith's regret she does not want to be with him except during the sex.
Smith visits a nude beach, and meets a man named Hunter. They start having sex, but Smith is disappointed to hear that Hunter is married. Stella discovers that Lorelei is not only unstable, but also a witch with psychic problems caused by rejection. Stella keeps trying to dump her, but has difficulty as Lorelei begins to make attempts on her life. Smith walks in on Thor and Thor's best friend Rex wrestling in their underwear. London seduces Rex, convincing him to have a three-way with Smith for Smith's nineteenth birthday.
During this time, Smith continues dreaming of the red-haired girl. In his dreams, they are both pursued by people wearing animal masks. Smith finds out that a girl was killed and her head cut off. He later meets Madeline, who appears to be the same red-haired girl. She tells him that she had a twin sister named Rebecca who was kidnapped many years ago by men wearing animal masks. Stella is attacked in the washroom, but saves herself by spraying water on Lorelei, causing her to burn up.
The animal-masked people finally capture Smith, London, and Smith's mom. They are bundled into a van to be driven to meet the head of a secret cult. Smith learns that the cult leader is his father, although he was always told that his father died when Smith was young.
Stella, Oliver, and the perpetually stoned "Messiah" pursue the van. Oliver has powers like Lorelei's, but uses them for good. It turns out that Oliver meeting Smith (and flirting with him) was not chance; he was trying to protect Smith. The Messiah was only acting stoned, and also wishes to protect Smith. The animal-masked people turn out to be Thor, Rex and Hunter, whose mission is to get London and Smith to a secret underground shelter to survive the explosion of dozens of nuclear bombs. Non-cult members will be annihilated, and the cult will take over the world with Smith as its leader.
The Messiah tries running the van off the road, and both vehicles accelerate towards a bridge that is out. Smith's father presses a button and the Earth explodes.
The film received mixed reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 60% out of 96 critics gave the film a positive review. On Metacritic, the film has a 64/100 rating, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Bruce DeMara from the Toronto Star praised the film's cast and called it "Araki's most ambitious [movie] to date, with a quick pace, music that's hip and cool and a mood that alternates between playful and eccentric." Sam Adams from the Los Angeles Times was much more critical about it, and said it was "less a movie than a masturbatory doodle, a sloppy, shoddy regurgitation of Araki's pet trope that tries to pass off its slipshod structure as a free-wheeling lark."