Father Jack is imprisoned for a crime that he has committed. The inmates suspect him of paedophilia and begin to persuade his teenage cellmate of this. His true crime is confessed to a prison guard with whom Jack has fallen in love.
Three young vigilantes huddle on la linea ready to chase illegals back across the border into Mexico... but they soon learn that there are borderlines deep within each one of them that each of them has to cross.
Brian J. Smith,
After living on the tough streets of LA for a while, India hopes that every gay basher will meet his destiny. In this case Destiny is a black, 6 foot, high heel wearing, gun toting, drag ... See full summary »
Teenage gang member Cal hides his sexuality from his fellow happy slapping gang members' often futile and violent dislike of anyone who isn't the same as them, be they unsuspecting shoppers, foreign students, gays, etc. Hooking up with a random stranger (Scott), Cal is unaware that this chance meeting will eventually provide him with choices and routes of escape from the tedium of his unambitious and depraved life. When his world collides with Olivier, a French student he rescues from a pointless beating, he encounters a lifestyle that presents as many new experiences as it does obstacles. Written by
His name's Cal. He says he's nineteen. Nineteen... We exchanged numbers online. Classy, eh? He's a cute guy. Not my usual type. Christ, what the fuck was I thinking? I should have known when I got in that shit-heap car of his. He's a scally, a rough little thug. As for the drugs, I don't know what to say. I needed an escape.
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I was lucky enough to catch this movie in Bristol. At the L&G festival in Miami the director won the Roger Walker-Dack Award for Emerging Talent in Queer Cinema. From researching the film and hearing the writer/editor and producer in a Q&A afterwards the film takes on a completely different resonance of believability when we learned that the majority of the narrative had been woven from real life events that had taken place in the UK.
All the acting is first rate - with the French boy actually turning out to be French with a genuine accent to boot and not a faked or 'acted' accent. There's an astonishing vulnerability to the lead, a vicious vile portrayal by the female gang leader and some wonderful nuanced acting from the troubled Jonno. All the supporting cast give this film a depth that you wouldn't expect from a low budget independent film with such high production values.
This is a gritty, urban and energetic film that grabs you from frame one and drives you through so many twists and turns that you find your emotions rubbed raw one minute then soothed the next. The final showdown is brutal in it's treatment of pent-up unrequited love between two young men and the biblical aftermath moved many in our audience to tears. The ending provides hope from a dire situation.
Incredible raw camera work carousels you through the lives of these delinquent British youth whilst an urban 'great' soundtrack of hip-hop and rap is beautifully underscored by British composer Barnaby Taylor - whose piano and guitar punctuation at key moments helps bring the arc of the main character's story to an emotional high.
People responded in an animated and engaged way to the screening in Miami with outbursts of laughter at plot points that gave the audience an opportunity to release some of the tension from the scenes of violence. There was also a palpable enjoyment of the more tender and moving moments that never felt gratuitous or deliberate but balanced.
The Miami New Times says of the film "21yr old Director Simon Pearce has taken the bildungsroman, held it up against the wall and punched its face in."
I had to look the word up as well and it means - BILDUNGSROMAN - A novel whose principal subject is the moral, psychological, and intellectual development of a usually youthful main character.
I agree it did punch it in the face.
From the facebook page ( shank cal shank - profile name) for the film it's clear that I'm not alone in my cry of 'bravo' to these innovative and daring film makers - the coming-out genre has been declared dead and buried with this film and SHANK is the new dawn for gay cinema.
Lifting from the facebook page a Toronto audience member has commented:
""It was as close to a sell-out audience as you could get. The crowd seemed to really like it - great round of applause at the end and some laughs and gasps throughout as we reacted to certain scenes. Some great acting by a bunch of fresh talent, esp. Jonno and Cal. I hope it receives more acclaim around the globe. People need to see this - in the vein of Kids."
another audience member from Toronto on their Youtube page commented:
""I also saw the movie in Toronto, too... large audience..... very well received. Beautifully filmed. Great actors! I wondered how someone at 21 could have directed such a well made film. The script must have been well written, too. - I was impressed."
I note that Miami and Toronto are not the only festivals who are screening the film - it appears to be screening all over the world having launched in Melbourne in March - I recommend anyone who's at the 25+ festivals that are listed to go see it.
This all adds up to a 10/10 in my book.....a rarity - film makers for SHANK don't rest on your laurels make another one.....can't wait
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