The Living End tells a story that revolves around two gay young men who are HIV positive, Luke (Mike Dytri) and Jon (Craig Gilmore). They find themselves on the run in ‘Thelma and Louise’ style after murdering a homophobic policeman. Luke is a hustler and Jon is a movie critic. Luke is a natural rebel with an at times psychotic personality that is immediately portrayed in the film’s opening minutes. Jon, on the other hand, is rather quiet and morose. The unmatched pair pursues a hedonistic perilous journey
Jon has just learned of his HIV positive status. Despite assuring his best friend Darcy (Darcy Marta) that he is fine, he is anything but. Still in shock and out of character, Jon picks up a strange man (Luke) carrying a gun. Jon finds Luke terrifying but unable to curb his attraction to him. Luke convinces Jon that due to them both having AIDS, they can do anything they want without a thought of the consequences. Enamoured by Luke and the rush of adrenaline, Jon agrees to run away with him. While living a life on the run, the two men, who are poles apart in character, become lovers. Their trip to San Francisco is riddled with violence.
“Rudely funny as it is about most things, The Living End doesn’t trivialize AIDS in any way. What it does instead is give vibrant, angry substance to the phrase “till death do us part.”
— Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“A year before Philadelphia went the respectable route in asking mainstream audiences to consider the AIDS crisis, provoc-auteur Gregg Araki unveiled what remains the single most confrontational film on the subject.”
— Peter Debruge, Variety
Did You Know?
The Living End premiered in 1992 at Sundance. The title of the film was inspired by a song by The Jesus and Mary Chain. The film’s soundtrack pays homage to industrial, post punk and shoegazing music. In an interview Gregg Araki said that the film was originally intended to be shot in black and white. Review our Gay Themed Films Here