GASOLINE RAINBOW Review: Ode to Childhood and Kindness of Strangers

Contributing Writer; The Netherlands
GASOLINE RAINBOW Review: Ode to Childhood and Kindness of Strangers

They say drunk people, children and fools always speak the truth.

No word is truer than that of a drunk foolish kid, as Gasoline Rainbow proves. The docu-drama hybrid is a warm-hearted look at five naive teens going on a road trip, beer and weed in hand, to have one last big hang out before adult responsibilities call.

As it gradually becomes apparent, though, these teenagers might also need an escape from a harsh life at home, having had to deal with more than a kid possibly should have to deal with. As someone says profoundly: "The only difference between adults and kids is that adults are unsupervised". It is a point that the film drives home, showing a cast of characters in the twilight zone between child and adult, just on the cusp of being fully responsible for their own livelihood.

But now they still have each other, and a trip to a beach party called The End of the World. The road movie that unfolds is full of hiccups, disaster, adventures and encounters with special people on the fringe of society. The trip brings them from queer skateboarders to train-hopping hobos, and from drunken conversations at dive bars to couch-hopping with fortysomething metalheads, who prove to the kids that adults can be surprisingly cool. Even if they talk too much about Tom Bombadil.

IDFA2023-GasolineRainbow-poster.jpgGasoline Rainbow is an ode to the last days of childhood and the kindness of strangers. On the road they meet so many people who turn out to be selfless and kind, even if the kids become increasingly aware that their trust in others does make them vulnerable.

When going train-hopping or going to parties with strangers you meet at 2.00 o'clock on the side of a desert road, there is always an apparent danger. Things could have gone dangerously wrong at times, but the focus of the narrative that the directors choose is more upbeat.

These kids are naive, a tad irresponsible, yet warmhearted. The film itself is queer, colorful, and vibrant, playing a lot like Gregg Araki doing a version of Stand By Me, including the bittersweetness that might come with that.

Gasoline Rainbow is an ode to being in the here and now, as the future might not be all that great for some of them, and the past might be best forgotten for others. The town they have escaped from is always in the back of their minds, as an omen of doom. A shithole where hope goes to die.

But here on the road every future seems possible, and every disaster on the road is a chance to meet new cool people to depend on. This film has a lot of empathy for these Gen Z-kids, and the outcasts they encounter, even if their drunken ramblings may at times be grating. But as I stated at the beginning, even if they speak in a stoned lingo, they hit on profound musings at times.

The kids have the truth, the folly of youth and their braveness on their side. They are not fearless, but even if life can be daunting, they have each other and each other's back.

Gasoline Rainbow is about friends as a chosen family, and a testament to having fun, slightly dangerous adventures with friends. Even if the future looms over them, like a cloud that can grow dark on the turn of a dime, these kids are alright and hopefully will be alright.


Review originally published during International Documentary Festival Amsterdam in November 2023. The film opens today in New York and expands throughout the U.S. on May 17. Visit the official site for full list of cities and dates.

Gasoline Rainbow

  • Bill Ross IV
  • Turner Ross
  • Davey Ramsey
  • Bill Ross IV
  • Turner Ross
  • Tony Aburto
  • Micah Bunch
  • Nichole Dukes
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Bill Ross IVMubiRoss BrothersTurner RossDavey RamseyTony AburtoMicah BunchNichole DukesAdventure

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