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I can't agree with the number of bad reviews this movie is getting. The movie is well well acted. Though it deals with issues within the drug scene and social strife of coming of age movies, this movie is not a Hollywood Happy Meal. Its probably not meant to be seen accompanied. The movie speaks to you and for once the author and director has a dialog with the viewer. Regardless of the storyline, if one is or isn't involved with drugs or social pressure, it talks about how ourselves relish in our sufferance forgetting that a better life is our decision. It may be slow at times and maybe it should have been released without so much storytelling, but I like when directors use new ideas. The movie is very good for what it wanted to portray and I am very happy to see how Emma Roberts has grown as an actress.
I finally got to see this movie and I have to say, I really did like
it. I know that this movie has been getting terrible reviews and
slammed by just about everybody, but I would like to back this movie up
1 - When I first heard about this movie and saw the trailer, my first thought was this reminds me of "The Rules of Attraction" and "Less Than Zero," two of my favorite books and movies. So I immediately went searching for the book "Twelve." Found it, read it, and LOVED it. I guess you sort of have to be into these types of stories to enjoy them. But needless to say, the book reminded of "Rules" and "Less Than Zero," which is why I liked it so much, except "Twelve" takes place in the present, which I can relate to, and not the 80's, even though I still love them.
Realizing this right now as I type this, don't watch this movie or read the book if you are not into these types of movies/books. If you are, then I highly recommend it.
2 - After having been a fan of the book, I was very anxious to see the movie. I finally saw it, bought it without seeing and wasn't sure what to expect, and I can say it was better than I expected. I was beginning to let the negative reviews suck me in, but I was pretty pleased with it. I think the main reason why I liked it is because it stayed very true to the book. Obviously the book is better, but the movie was pleasing for me.
3 - I was very happy with the casting in this movie. I think Chase Crawford did a great job. Very believable as White Mike. I hadn't really seen him do anything because I don't watch "Gossip Girl," so it was nice seeing what he can do. I really like Emma Roberts so I enjoyed her just as much as Molly as I always do in any role she portrays. Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, small part, but very strong performance. I only knew him as a musician, never seen him act, and was impressed with him. He too, was very believable. Most of the actors in this movie were very believable. The two individuals who stood out most to me were Billy Magnussen and Emily Meade. I have never seen them in anything else before, and I thought they were absolutely great. I hope to see more of them. I also loved Ellen Barkin's appearance in this movie. She was great as always.
4 - A lot of other comments or reviews, slammed the narration of Kiefer Sutherland in this movie. I will admit in the beginning it seemed to be too much, or some parts didn't really need to be narrated, but the majority of the narration, I thought was needed. I did not think it was out of place. It reminded me of the book once again. The narration was informative, descriptive, and at sometimes comical, or comic relief in my opinion.
5 - I thought the style was done very well in this movie. The music, the party scenes, the atmosphere, the different groups and cliques, the suspense and fear, the sadness, the chemistry between the two leads, etc. This movie pulled it off. I was worried before I saw the movie and with all of the bad reviews that it would have been too much or not enough, but NO, I was pleased.
This is my overall opinion on the movie. The only thing I did not like about this movie, and I wont give any spoilers to anyone, I felt like the end was rushed. It seemed like the "Event" at the very end, came and went too fast. Still an impressive performance delivered by the actors, which helped the scene out for me, but I felt like not enough time was spent at the end. I guess to understand what I mean, you would have to read the book then see the movie. My recommendation.
But I will say that although the very end had a slight minor change, again no spoilers, I was happy with the ending. That was a major concern for me, but I thought the very end was simple and sweet. Which worked.
I honestly really hope this review helps people who are interested in this movie. I'm going recommend it to people who are into these types of stories/books/movies. I think what helped me the most was that I knew what was going on, which might be a spoiler for some people or people just might not like that, but just know that if you watch this movie, its a lot like the book. And don't let the negative reviews stop you from seeing it. Check it out and see for yourself.
For all the people saying this should be like an 80s kid drug film, or
the narrator was annoying. First of all, the drug scene has
dramatically changed since the 80s. As far as the narrator, think of
the film like a book, there is often an omnipotent narrator that knows
more than the characters and tells the story. That's the way the film
is done, and it actually works here.
An omnipotent narrator fills in the gaps, and that is exactly what he does in Twelve.
I'm more irritated that people think that the drug scene, in any city, is exactly the same as it was 30 years ago is crazy. Drugs change. Prices change. Kids change. Everything changes. Our entire American culture has changed. So, of course, drugs have changed.
Like many others, I can't understand how this film #1: gets bad reviews
and #2: wasn't nominated under either the Golden Globes or the Academy
The movie was unbelievably gripping. It unfolded with just enough twists to leave you almost white-knuckling your seat. The acting was also really solid. I'm loving Curtis 50 Cent Jackson's performance, and see nothing but up for Emma Roberts.
The story was real. It didn't give you any fluff, and gave a wonderful depth/insight to the main characters, much to the delightful assistance of Kiefer Sutherland's narrations. I also enjoyed the artistic flashback clips, which, I felt provided just a touch of light to an otherwise dark stork.
Now I want to read the book. I suggest you either do the same, or see this movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Twelve, Less Than Zero lite for teenagers, is enjoyable schlock about
beautiful, spoiled, rich Manhattan kids at party time. Some have said
the Gossip Girl star Chace Crawford is "painfully miscast" as the lead,
White Mike, a bereaved preppy dropout drug dealer. Perhaps in the
source novel by 17-year-old Nick McDonell White Mike is more dark and
haunted, but so what? He's good-looking and young, and his TV series
casting associates him with rich kids. This movie is about looks,
style, and milieu and in those areas it scores.
White Mike has recently lost his mother to cancer and has skipped his senior year. He does not smoke, drink, or do drugs; he only deals them. As he wanders all around town selling we're introduced to a wide range of preppy characters, their roomy apartments, their servants, and one or two parents (including Ellen Barkin). Most of the parents are on the Caribbean and can only be reached by satellite phone. Mike's father is in town but is a restaurant magnate who's distant. The story is narrated in a heavy, knowing voice-over by Kiefer Sutherland.
White Mike sells marijuana exclusively to Manhattan preppies, and it's vacation time when lots more of them are in town, Deerfield and Andover kids as well as Dalton and Trinity. On the scene there's a new drug called Twelve, which acts like a combo of blow and "X," sold by White Mike's dealer Lionel (50 Cent). Jessica (Emily Meade) gets hooked on Twelve immediately. She goes wild on it and her huge collection of teddy bears talk to her. A virgin, she offers her body to Lionel for more Twelve, which costs a thousand dollars for a tiny vial.
As the action gets going Mike's cousin is killed near a Harlem playground without his knowledge and his best friend is picked up and held as a suspect. In this world everybody knows everybody and Chris (Rory Culkin), home alone, agrees to give a "famous party" for No. 1 preppy Alpha Girl Sara Ludlow (Esti Ginzburg) in hopes she'll help him lose his virginity. But his only partially recovered druggie big brother Claude (Billy Magnussen) turns up and causes mayhem. Burly blond Claude buys a samurai sword from Ako at a Chinatown dive shop and keeps waving it around up on the roof and weight-lifting, in case you might think he's too tame and mild to cause any trouble. For comic relief there are two pint-sized wigger boys, "Mark Rothko" (don't ask: Charlie Saxton) and Timmy (Erik Per Sullivan) squirreling around buying dope from White Mike and annoying the big teenagers. Because this is a comedy, as well as a soap-style melodrama.
White Mike is in limbo. Mawkish flashbacks show his childhood and his mom's last days. Phone calls show that he lies to best friend from childhood and would-be girl Molly (Emma Roberts, Julia's niece) to hide his illegal occupation. Everything comes to a head at the big party. Maybe if Mike survives all this, will he finish school and go to Harvard, an option seemingly open to any male character here who wants it? Maybe. People die (spoiler alert), but the pain doesn't go too deep and the movie manages to end on a hopeful note. Who cared about that Alpha Girl? There's a bunch of other characters here, who aren't developed in any depth. Should they be? Could they ever have been? In a miniseries, perhaps. If you expect art or high seriousness from Joel Schumacher, who has a lousy track record and took a big pay cut after the disaster of Batman and Robin, you're in the wrong movie theater. But if you're looking for pretty people being spoiled in posh settings, you're right on track. The cinematography, like the actors, is good-looking.
As Variety said (this film debuted, not too successfully, at Sundance), Twelve "can't decide if it's a cautionary tale or a lifestyle catalog" and is "not quite self-aware enough to become camp," but as a Guilty Pleasure it works fine. Just don't expect too much. The servants are on duty, but the parents are away. Get it?
No matter what the bad reviews say about the story, acting, or premise, this movie is worth seeing simply as a work of art. This film should be included in every list of movies given to cinematographers to learn from. The camera work and visual style of this film is enough to earn it at least an 8/10 rating, and when you add in the characterization that's on par with most best-picture winners, you have a 9-10 rating. There are parts of this movie where you can't help but feel drawn into the story. The storytelling is incredible. If the characters on screen are feeling depressed or confused due to an intense drug trip, the audience feels the same way. This is done through masterful camera work, narration, dialogue, flashbacks, lighting, sound, and plot. This film should be viewed by all and revered as a work of art by all who have the authority. 15-25 year-olds will connect immediately with the story, and everyone else will be in awe soon after. A great film all around.
I read the reviews on-site and many off-site before watching this and
saw they were very polarized, so I even went through some European
reviews, which treated it quite a bit nicer but which were also pretty
polarized. I did notice that, as of this writing, 20% of the people
voting here on IMDb gave it a 10, which is significantly higher than
even George Clooney's latest film, "The American" received, although it
has a somewhat higher overall score. The major complaint I read amongst
all the reviews was about the ongoing narration but, I thought, it's
only a dollar rental and if it's too intrusive I can always watch
something else. So, I decided to give it a spin.
Imagine you are watching a young man in a room, alone with the open casket of his mother, who had just passed away from cancer. He's thinking that the wig the undertaker put on her, to hide her hair loss from the therapy, was unbecoming. He would rather see her for the last time as she really was at the end of her days, bald-headed. This is an important thought of his, which sets up a subsequent scene that would otherwise be totally inexplicable.
How can a film-maker express this thought? By introducing someone into the room with which the young man can have a conversation about this? No, that destroys the solitude of the moment. By having him speak this thought aloud to his mother's remains? Not very likely. By creating a completely new scene where someone is present and then create an artifice to have a conversation about it? No, that adds unnecessary complexity and bulk to wade through, confusing the storyline.
What Schumacher does is to use a narrator to give the viewer a short-cut directly into the minds of his characters at times - many times. This makes the film somewhat more like a visual book than a movie. It wouldn't do for most movies but it was effective here. (I got a good chuckle from the vapidity of the last thought of Sara's that we are exposed to.) It is a different approach but I, for one, enjoyed it. I most probably would not of enjoyed the book this film is based on, as I don't think there was enough plot substance here to make an enjoyable book for me but I do think there was sufficient substance for a film. 6.5 out of 10.
TWELVE is a film that is at first terrifying in its message about the
irresponsible, uncontrollable drive for physical gratification among
the wealthy youth of New York, and then a film that makes us profoundly
sad that this is what we in our permissive, no established behavioral
boundaries society have produced. Joel Schumacher knows his game and
once again forces us to examine what we have produced in failing to
give our younger generation the security for learning guidelines for
social interaction. Jordan Melemed adapted Nick McDonell's novel for
the screen and the flow of the story is in the form of offscreen
narration by Kiefer Sutherland.
'Twelve' is the new play drug in the party circles of New York City and is supplied to the kids by Lionel (50 Cent), all other drugs being the purview of White Mike (Chace Crawford), a lad whose mother's death from cancer has left him aimless, electing to deal drugs rather than join his confreres in going to the 'proper colleges'. White Mike watches as his high-rolling life is dismantled in the wake of his cousin's murder, which sees his best friend arrested for the crime. White Mike believes that his fellow youth don't need anything, they just want everything and the nexus of his philosophy is drugs. A grossly dysfunctional family of boys - Chris (Rory Culkin), Hunter (Phillip Ettinger) and Claude (Billy Magnussen) - have 'famous parties' in their parents' absence especially for the local bedbunny Sara (Esti Ginzburg). Another sad character is Jessica (Emily Meade) who takes 'Twelve' by mistake and then becomes addicted while her floozy mother (Ellen Barkin) and her supplier Lionel alter her life. The murder of White Mike's cousin and the subsequent effect it has on the rest of these young people leads to a disastrous conclusion. Their lives are as empty as their drug-addled brains.
A story of decay and decadence and misplaced ideals, TWELVE is not pretty to watch, but the performances by some of these young actors make it memorable, forcing us to look at what we've done to our youth.
After making his abominations of Batman with 'Batman Forever' and
'Batman & Robin,' Joel Schumacher lost a lot of respect from basically
all of the film-going community. However, to me, he has had enough
solid flicks like 'The Lost Boys,' 'Phantom of the Opera,' 'St. Elmo's
Fire,' and '8MM' to at least have some credibility.
Unfortunately, his newest film 'Twelve' is one more addition to the negative side of his filmography. It tells the story of White Mike (Chace Crawford), a young wealthy drug dealer in New York City whose already complicated life becomes even more problematic when his cousin is murdered and the prime suspect becomes Hunter (Philip Ettinger), White Mike's best friend.
Perhaps the most obvious issue about 'Twelve' that negatively affects the rest of the film comes from Kiefer Sutherland's constant narration throughout. It's a common mantra among screenwriters to "show, not tell," but writer Jordan Melamed decided to throw off those typical conventions and tell every single detail of every single moment through the voice-over narration. This contributed to the other problems of the film, including the stilted dialogue & awkward acting. It's hard to deliver lines well when the actor is being forced to randomly pause mid-sentence to let Kiefer Sutherland explain what is going on in the scene.
Ignoring the issues caused by the overdone narration, it's hard to find much to like about the film. Joel Schumacher's direction is interesting enough, and the cast is nice to look at, but that's about it. The story is nothing special and is easily overshadowed by other "drug-induced youth" films like 'Less Than Zero' and 'Holy Rollers.' For this reason, 'Twelve' will never be more than just a mediocre attempt at something that's been done much better many times before. I'd like to see Schumacher return to what he was able to do in the late '80s with 'St. Elmo's Fire' and 'The Lost Boys,' but it doesn't look that will be happening anytime soon.
Final Verdict: 5/10.
I loved this movie. I've watched it twice already. The whole cast is superb. I especially liked Esti Ginzburg. the whole movie could've just been about her character and that would've been fine. I hope that she is in more movies. Chace Crawford was excellent as well. This is one of the best movies that Joel Schumacher has directed in the last ten years.The cast was very hip, with great dialog. It reminded me of another movie that I liked very much, that was Little Athens. Twelve is one of the most underrated movies Curtis of 2010.Curtis 50cent Jackson was very good, as Emily Meade. Kiefer Sutherland did a very good job with the narration. Sometimes narration can be annoying, but in this case it helps keep the story moving. Emma Roberts was very good, she certainly has a bright future in the movies. I haven't read the book that the movie was based on, but I would like to now. If you like movies that are cool and hip then check this movie out for sure.
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