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37 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

Great Canadian road movie

9/10
Author: Andreas Niedermayer (leeds1@gmx.at) from Klagenfurt, Austria
29 December 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Jet Boy deals with some very sensitive subjects. It does so with skillful honesty and without falling into stereotypes and melodramatic depictions. It is a real-life drama that convinces with its sincere authenticity and the profound quality of the interaction between the two leading characters.

The movie is set in Canada and shot in Vancouver, B.C., Calgary and Linden, Alberta, and the road between. It can be qualified as a road movie and as a drama focusing on characters influenced by their cultural milieu and by each other. The movie has a simple story and is still complex in its plot development as well as in the pace of plot revelations. The audience never stops learning about the two main characters, their individual stories and their background, which provides the movie with tremendous quality and causes curiosity that makes the audience dive into the story and stay alert.

The main protagonist is Nathan, played by newcomer Branden Nadon. We are introduced to him as he sells his body on his 14th birthday. These very subtle scenes at the beginning make us aware of how desperate this young boy is. He is a hustler, but still a child. We get a very good impression of his life – a bleak, exploited life without much room for dreams and no way out. Then we are introduced to his family. He has no father and his mother is a drug addict. She dies right at the beginning due to an overdose, which leaves Nathan orphaned and totally isolated.

The second main character is a rough and mysterious man named Boon Palmer (played by Dylan Walsh), a man we do not know anything about. Apparently he has a questionable past as some kind of criminal. All we know is that he is up to something and violent if challenged.

Nathan is on the road, running away from the social services that would take him in, heading towards Vancouver, when he encounters Boon in a road pub. He associates with him and manages to make the taciturn man give him a ride to the city. On their way they stop in a motel in a small town, where Boon grew up and where he has to settle something. It becomes clear from the very beginning of their traveling companionship that Nathan sees much more than a temporary ride in Boon, but pins all his hopes on him. He does everything to please the man, makes their breakfast and – as some subtle hints reveal – would not mind sleeping in the same bed with him.

Once in the small town, we find out some interesting bits and pieces about Boon's past, about his imperious father, about his old flame and his life twenty years ago. We still do not know who Boon is today, but we get a clearer idea of his roots and find out that he is indeed a rather likable person, which we could not expect right from the beginning. The growing relationship between Boon and Nathan is characterized by frictions, but still slowly growing in depth. Boon renews a sexual affair with his old flame while Nathan associates with some local lads.

The movie's climax is emotionally stirring and intriguingly played by the two leading characters. Nathan breaks away as Boon neglects his love and his yearning for paternal appreciation. Boon has to finish his job in Vancouver, and there he sees how Nathan offers himself to a client. He follows them and rushes into the hotel room as Nathan is about to be sexually harassed. Boon hugs Nathan, and the emotional turmoil makes the boy break down and cry. As they leave the hotel, we find out that Boon is in fact an undercover cop – something we did not know throughout the entire movie. They drive back to the small town, as it seems happily united.

This last aspect is probably slightly, just slightly overdone and a bit corny. The rest of the movie is profoundly authentic and smashing in its sincere character portrayal of a strange man and a young hustler who help each other out of their bleak lives. These two characters carry complex problems and their interaction makes up the emotional thrill of the whole production. The soundtrack is flawless and the camera work lives up to the decisive moments. The other characters are fairly flat, but this is okay here, as the two protagonists carry the burden and define the pace and the quality of the plot development.

I give Jet Boy a 9 because it handles a very sensitive issue – child prostitution – frankly and without corny stereotypes. It furthermore delivers a fine character portrayal and focuses on a very strong father-son aspect, set in a cultural stratum in which hope and trust are hard to find and even harder to maintain. The two leading actors are just brilliant, and thus Jet Boy is an authentic Canadian movie, a wonderful portrayal of genuine human struggles

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32 out of 36 people found the following review useful:

A Flawed Wonder

9/10
Author: Bill Davis from Ghent, KY
9 November 2008

I gave this a 9 out of 10, which is extraordinary for what, in many ways, is a pretty bad film. Sometimes a movie can touch you, like this one does, even though you know it has some terribly bad aspects like cardboard-cutout characters and unbelievable plot turns. In a movie that often has the complexity and production values of an ABC Afternoon Special, there is the stirring performance of Branden Nadon as Nathan, a young male prostitute, latching onto a drifter he wants to be his ... father figure? lover? both? There are many unanswered questions here, opportunities missed, time spent on uninteresting plot lines. But instead of walking away in disgust, Nadon's performance and character just leaves you hungry for more, and wishing scenes had been expanded. There's a scene where Nathan tells a gay teen who has just kissed him, "I just want to be a good kid," and it so excruciating and sweet and sad you wish the scene had gone on forever. When Nathan accompanies the drifter to the drifter's home town, none of the people he encounters there know how worldly he is, or how wounded he is, and how he longs to belong to someone. It's a poignant performance you won't easily forget.

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20 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

An interesting father/son and road trip movie

8/10
Author: jamesbmerak from Calgary, Canada
19 November 2001

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie reminded me in ways of Stand By Me and Boys In The Hood...very reflective, with themes of growing up and interpersonal relationship, but also like Stand By Me a theme of journey.

Except for a somewhat overly sweet ending, the tone of the movie and the characters are right on the mark, exactly right for the themes and plot and character development. The acting was very real and human, and the characters could be easily related to. Even with sometimes sensitive subject matter, never did the acting seem at all false, in fact it seemed particularly true with the hardest subjects. (The sweet surprise ending, however, does not quite make sense with the rest of the plot, and made other parts of the plot seem somewhat unrealistic, though they were quite realistic without this revelation.)

I would recommend the film highly. Note that due to sensitive subject matter, parents should probably see the film before letting younger children see it, and watch the film with them.

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17 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

One of the best made for TV movies I've seen

10/10
Author: drpakmanrains from United States
27 April 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

About once or twice a year I find a film that has been seen by almost no one, and yet turns out to be outstanding and should have reached a much larger audience. Jet Boy is in this category. Branden Nadon gives such a superb performance as a boy "Nathan" turning 14 and living in conditions no child should have to endure, that it stirs the "rescue" urge in anyone with a conscience that something like this can happen in Canada or America. The story was written by the director David Schultz, and it is a terrific story. I don't agree that it is a bad movie that nevertheless moves the viewer. I admit it has a few flaws, but most movies do, and they are relatively minor here. Like how Dylan Walsh's "Boon" can so easily reject Nathan after being protective a minute earlier, or how they re-connect in Vancouver when neither knew where the other was in such a large city. Their extended hug near the end is very affecting, and did not hurt the movie in my opinion, as others have suggested. It reflected Boon's realization that he truly cared for Nathan, for he was influenced by his rekindled love interest telling him he is not (and does not have to be like) his own cold, dying, father. Still to see a movie with a raw ugly streetwise theme manage to be uplifting and presented in a way that even young teenagers can watch is quite an accomplishment. It was also great to see a boy who looked to be the age he was playing, rather than an adult playing a much younger person. The scenes where Boon reunites with his high school love and her 13 year old son are beautifully done, and the two boys are so real together, it's hard to believe they are acting. And when the two slightly older boys go out with them and they all get into minor trouble, it seems perfectly believable. Especially when Lloyd, the 13 year old, breaks down and cries at the police station. Each time after I have watched this film, it takes me 30 minutes to stop dwelling on it. I'm so glad I purchased this film sight unseen based on an Amazon recommendation. It is one of my all-time favorites already. I hope some of you reading this will do the same. You won't be sorry.

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26 out of 38 people found the following review useful:

Great movie!

Author: Tracy (coolloser@hotmail.com) from Calgary, Alberta, Canada
23 October 2002

I was bored and wanted to watch a movie, Jet Boy was the only movie starting at that moment so I started to watch it. The beginning hooked me right away, I wanted to know what would happen to this young boy who was selling himself on his twelfth birthday. This movie hooked me and it kept me hooked all the way through. A lot of neat things happened :)

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13 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Amazing Film - Sad Story.

8/10
Author: RazielTomorrow from United States
8 February 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

-------SPOILERS BEGIN HERE-------

A very sad tale about a young boy named Nathan. The movie begins on his birthday. He lives with his mother, and has never met his father. His mother's a heroin addict, and Nathan supports him, his mother, and her habit by prostituting himself. His mother dies very early in the film of a drug overdose, and Nathan proceeds to run away from social services.

He soon meets Boon. Boon is an 30-something seemingly dead beat jerk. Nathan convinces Boon to let him tag along for the ride to Vancouver.

-------SPOILERS END HERE-------

The majority of the movie occurs in Boon's home town. Boon meets his high school sweetheart, Erin, and Nathan befriends her son Lloyd. Things take a turn for the worst when it's revealed to Erin that he is not Nathan's father.

I'll save the great ending...go watch the movie

The movie shines light on the problem of child prostitution, but it's also a heartwarming father-son story.

A must see for all!

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

What a great film!

10/10
Author: Greg from United Kingdom
29 September 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

*** Some BIG spoilers about plot development follow, so be warned ***

I caught this movie a few days ago and I've been thinking about it ever since. I almost never write movie reviews here. I'm glad to see a version of this film has made it to DVD. It is hard to explain exactly what makes this such a great film to me, but writing as someone with a few father/son issues of my own this movie has unexpectedly and profoundly affected me.

The performances from the leads are great, especially from Branden Nadon and Dylan Walsh, and the story moves along well. Young Branden is just excellent here - he breathes real life into his character - making him both toughened and vulnerable at the same time. Where is he? We need to see more of him as an adult actor.

The script may become a little unrealistic at the end to push us towards our happy ending, but I can forgive it that because it's the ending I was hoping for. Some of the other characters are only sketched, but they are all carefully positioned to support the two performances at the heart of this story.

I challenge any audience to remain unmoved by the final scenes between Boon and Nathan. How could anyone want anything else for these characters? Love and redemption win for them both, and they find it in each other. I can honestly say that nothing on film has moved me more than this for a long time.

If you're used to a diet of slick, multiplex fodder then some of the production values may disappoint you occasionally, but none of that gets in the way of the telling of this neatly crafted little story.

Dave Schultz is to be congratulated for creating a very moving independent Canadian film on what I imagine was a limited budget. He successfully navigates a taboo subject to create a little gem of storytelling about fathers and sons.

And the track over the closing titles "Whisper in Time" by Bad Religion is killer! Very appropriate.

Recommended.

Greg

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12 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

dark version of Dear Frankie

10/10
Author: Bobbycenturion from United States
16 January 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie after seeing it the first time a few weeks ago moved me. It was such a great story of two people coming together as father and son. It was like a dark version of "Dear Frankie". The acting was great, you will feel sorry for Nathan for what he went through, and he is better off with Boone. And some scenes in the movie, you almost cringed when you something was going to happen, like with the gun. But the scenes when Boone's girlfriend thought Nathan and Boone were father and son was the best!! It made you want to make the scene go on forever, and you will have to watch the movie to see what happened!! This movie ranks up there with some of my personal favorites!! Wish this film had got around, so more people could enjoy it!!!

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Something about this movie

9/10
Author: xletxmexgox from United States
12 March 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There's just something about this movie that pulls you in. Overall, it's got unbelievable parts (Boon and his girlfriend picking up their relationship in one day, after not seeing each other for twenty years, Boon being able to sign Nathan out of jail, etc), and the boy who plays Nathan isn't that great of an actor... But despite all that, there's something about this movie that just... I don't know, pulls you in, and makes you want to cry for Nathan. The scene in the field with the other boy, where Nathan describes the abuse at the hands of his mother and her boyfriends, you can tell he's trying to be strong, trying not to cry... and it made me want to cry, and I'm not one who cries easily. The scene in the motel with Boon is another heart breaker, as you watch this boy - who has been so screwed up that he feels sex is the only way he can be loved- struggle to keep himself from crying as he offers himself to the man he wants to be his father... This was a wonderful script, and even with Nathan's mediocre acting, it still shines through as an amazing movie.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

To survive a boy needs a father figure

8/10
Author: Dr Jacques COULARDEAU from Olliergues, France
5 July 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The gay theme is only secondary in this film. A rather young boy, probably ten or eleven, the son of a drug addicted mother who dies one day on him with an overdose she gets from the heroin he has brought her and he had bought with the money he had made with an older man he had serviced intimately.

He escapes social services and manages to find himself in the hands, some sort of two way blackmailing or dependence, of a man he decides is going to be his father. He manages to get in his car and the man starts taking him to Vancouver.

On the way to there the man goes back to his hometown where he visits his invalid and unconscious father but that leads him to a girl friend from a long time ago and the boy he is transporting, Nathan, falls for the son of the woman. The man, Boon, falls again or anew for the woman, but he is on a big case, though we do not know exactly what, criminal probably.

Nathan comes to a desperate proposal to keep Boon, a desperate intimate proposal that Boon refuses and that refusal sets Nathan on the run again.

The action ends up in Vancouver for sure where Nathan is more or less in the room of an older man and needs to be reprieved from perdition while Boon is following and arriving and breaking a door, and at the same time he is getting tailed by an important criminal of some kind he is dealing with.

The end is sentimental in a way but everything gets clear though most of the important scenes happen in the night with little light and kind of all blurred up in and by darkness.

The question of the film is simple. Does a boy need a father? What kind of substitute activities can a boy without a father do to feel close to an older man? The answer is as simple as the question. Yes a boy needs a father or a father substitute and a boy without such a father model next to him will do all kinds of risky and dumb things to feel older than he is and to fill the emptiness he experiences in his heart somewhere between his brain and his diaphragm.

Maybe it could be better not to show that film to children under the tender age of ten or something like that. And be ready to answer a few questions if your son is too young and direct enough to ask embarrassing queries.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU

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