Described as a docudrama, it's really a feature film that follows the time line of events pretty closely but perforce must introduce fictionalized dialog. That's okay. Nobody was taking notes and the dialog is convincing enough. The armature of the story is that some guy owes some other guy thirty large but he won't pay up, so the creditors kidnap the debtor's younger brother, take good care of him for a few days, and then, despite his swearing not to tell anyone about his so-called kidnapping, they shoot him full of holes in the desert in the mistaken belief that the fifteen-year-old hostage would squeal anyway and all the gang would get life imprisonment. It reminded me of "Kids" except that this was far more violent.
It serves as an introduction to the anomic life of teen agers in the prettiest parts of Southern California -- Pomona, Montclair, Palm Springs. Their families are middle class but the kids themselves transcend social class. They form a logical set of their own. None seems to have a job. One muses about "taking a course" but it's clear that they have little interest in anything except the goings on of their own clique. They might find a graphic novel too challenging. Some of them wouldn't be able to find their home town on a map. They lack curiosity.
What interests them the most is dope and money. Sex is readily available, with the beautiful girls (all with the same hair style) as eager as the boys, sometimes more eager. One girl applies all sorts of ministrations to her boy friend but he can't get it up. (And the girl is the unimpeachably beautiful Olivia Wilde.) The truly amazing thing is that ANY of the boys can get it up. They suck on bongs, smoke weed constantly, and drink hard liquor straight out of the bottle. No wonder some of them have a problem.
It struck me that the parties ranged from ecstatic displays to bloody rage, with very little in between, a kind of binary party. But it's a little hard to reconcile this with the effects of marijuana or opiates with violence. Nevertheless, the violence is there and Ben Foster as one of the over-tattooed skin heads gets the palm for particularly intense role enactment. The guy is a human wrecking ball, trashing houses, decking three or four adversaries, and wearing white after Labor Day. Only one of these aimless guys shows any common sense but he's swept up in the plot anyway. They're all on the same hedonic treadmill.
I wish that at least one of them would open a book or be seen watching something other than bad Westerns and cartoons. A mind is a terrible thing to waste, and so is a whole generation.
Action / Biography / Crime / Drama
Action / Biography / Crime / Drama
1999, Claremont, California. Middle-class kids, in their 20s, talk trash, wave guns, hang out in a pack. Johnny Truelove, drug dealer and son of a underworld figure, threatens Jake Mazursky, an explosive head case who owes Johnny money; Jake responds by breaking into Johnny's house. On impulse, Johnny and a couple pals kidnap Jake's 15-year-old brother, Zach. Zach's okay with it, figuring his brother will pay the debt soon. Johnny assigns his buddy Frankie to be Zach's minder, and they develop a brotherly friendship. Zach parties with his captors as things begin to spin out of control. Group think, amorality, and fear of prison assert a hold on the pack. Is Zach in danger?
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August 16, 2011 at 01:06 PM