Gerardo Naranjo shoots what he likes to call “energy”—something I’m Gonna Explode, like his previous Drama/Mex, doesn’t lack for. That energy is the adolescent intensity of two teenagers from Guanajuato, Mexico, Roman (Juan Pablo de Santiago) and Maru (Maria Deschamps), who disappear from the world—and move through it—in mystifying ways. We may glean that Roman’s rationale for taunting his father with a faux attempt at suicide stems from the loss of his mother in an automobile accident years ago, and we may assume that Maru allows Roman to kidnap her in dramatic fashion because she has nothing better to do. While their parents look for them, pouring over a hilarious infomercial about missing children, the dynamic duo set up shop on Roman’s roof, stealing food from the house when no one is around. Naranjo has a succulent eye for the landscape of the world and the human body, and the film coasts breezily along on curlicuing aesthetic vibes that are rhymed to Roman and Maru’s topsy-turvy libidos and emotions, but what are these two privileged teens doing besides recreating scenes from Jean-Luc Godard’s canon? As in Drama/Mex, the characters do much confessing, but Roman and Maru’s escapades speak less to a generation’s moral crisis than to its abject boredom. Naranjo seems to understand teens as a naturally rebellious lot, but without anything of great significance to rebel against, they explode. This becomes explicit when the pair visits the home of a former political activist with all sorts of revolutionary paraphernalia on his walls, but the film doesn’t cut much deeper than this casual acknowledgement of Roman and Maru’s need for a guerrilla war (maybe even a May 1968) to call their own—a need they seem completely unaware of. In this way, I’m Gonna Explode must be taken for what it is: an ode to uncertainly and obliviousness that stylistically keeps moving well after its ideas have reached a dead end.
- 106 min
- Gerardo Naranjo
- Gerardo Naranjo
- Maria Deschamps, Juan Pablo de Santiago, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Rebecca Jones, Martha Claudia Moreno
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