Head On

on August 13, 1999 by Tim Cogshell
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   Were the moniker not already taken, Australian director Ana Kokkinos' debut feature might have been called "Rebel Without A Cause." Instead, the film is titled "Head On," a metaphor for the way its protagonist engages life with nihilistic abandon.
   Ari (Alex Dimitriades) is a young man struggling with everything: his Greekness in a Balkanized community, his homosexuality, his parents and their expectations and his identity in general. In one 24-hour period he tosses it all to the wind and goes on a drug- and sex-filled rampage. He confronts some of his demons and retreats from others. By the next morning, the only thing he's sure of is that his life is his own to screw up.
   The film is gritty in the extreme (featuring graphic depictions of violent sex), and the theme of angry gay youth is beginning to wear thin. Still, there are some powerful moments in this rambling day-in-the-life odyssey.    Starring Alex Dimitriades. Directed by Ana Kokkinos. Written by Ana Kokkinos, Andrew Bovell and Mira Robertson. Produced by James Scott. Released by Strand Releasing. Rated R for sex and violence. Running time: 104 min.
Tags: Alex Dimitriades, Ana Kokkinos, Andrew Bovell, Mira Robertson, James Scott, Stand Releasing, struggles, drugs, demons
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