THERE’S no denying the distinctiveness at play in this punk sci-fi rom-com concoction from director John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Rabbit Hole). But the originality is smothered by a lack of cohesion and an over-reaching need to be a million different things at once.

Based on the short story by Neil Gaiman, we’re chucked headfirst into 1977’s Croydon and the life of teenager Enn (Alex Sharp). Despite his shyness, he tries to live an anarchic punk life attending gigs, presided over by Nicole Kidman’s spiky-haired Queen Boadicea, and after-dark parties with his equally rebellious best mates Vic (Abraham Lewis) and John (Ethan Lawrence).

Things take a turn for the weird when they accidentally turn up at the wrong party and find inside what appears to be some sort of otherworldly American cult – that could also be alien beings. Enn meets and immediately falls for Zan (Elle Fanning), one of the group members keen to explore “the punk” outside the confines of the strict rules and rituals she’s used to.

From the get-go the film not so much talks to you at this anarchic party but positively screams in your face with punkish abandon, traversing genres, styles and occasionally all sense to jittery and irritating effect. Is it a love story about two polar opposites discovering each other’s worlds? Is it a bizarre sci-fi comedy romp about alien behaviour? A celebration of anarchy in the UK on the Queen’s silver jubilee?

It’s actually all of these things and more but, in trying to cover all those bases, the effect of each is rendered frustratingly inert. Throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks is often a gutsy move but here it’s created an ineffective splatter which the filmmakers seem to think has a more deep meaning to it than is truly the case.

Sharp and Fanning lend some much-needed depth to the blossoming romance but it’s not enough to sustain us through a hopelessly erratic and laboriously odd film that has energy to spare but without a tether in sight to make it really work.