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NYFF: I’m Gonna Explode

NYFF: I'm Gonna Explode

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Godardian teenage angst paean or super-sized Keystone Cops episode? Or perhaps Gerardo Naranjo’s I’m Gonna Explode is just an unholy mix of both. In the film, two teenagers from Guanajuato, Mexico, their anger indirectly targeted at an apparently cruel, uncaring world that just doesn’t understand them, run away together. Roman (Juan Pablo de Santiago) has been caught plotting a shooting spree against the priests at his Catholic school; Maru (Maria Deschamps), delighted by this romantic loner, joins up with him. The two escape, but in an attempt at charming irony, Naranjo has them flee all the way to Roman’s roof, where they plan out their next move from a red camping tent and subsist on food snatched from his parents’ kitchen, located just several feet below. Alarmed at the kids’ disappearance, Roman’s dad (a right-wing politician, of course, played with one-note, glaring self-righteousness by Bad Education’s bad priest, Daniel Giménez Cacho), stepmother Eva (Rebecca Jones), and Maru’s fragile single mother, Helena (Martha Claudia Moreno), group together downstairs with the police, fretting and musing over their disappearance.

Meanwhile, every time Roman sends out a phony call to his father, misleading them as to his whereabouts, the entire group hurries out together en masse and speeds away in their cars, leaving the house unguarded, so that the kids can sneak in and out. This, of course, allows for many close-call encounters with returning parents and one Tom Sawyer-at-his-own-funeral moment when one of the kids watches a report about their delinquency on the evening news while hiding behind the couch. It’s hard to know if the cops—who never scour the roof, never leave anyone to guard the premises, and more than twice allow the 13-year-olds to elude their grasp—are meant to be as bumbling as they appear (I half expected Leslie Nielsen to show up at some point), but considering that the film has a generally sour, childish attitude toward all types of authority figures, who might as well squawk offscreen like Peanuts parents, my guess is that their incredible incompetence is meant to reflect some very generalized, child’s-eye view of social unease.

Click here to read the rest of Michael Koresky’s review of I’m Gonna Explode.

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