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Complicity (2013)

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When a seemingly fun party goes horribly awry, a group of teenagers must decide their fates.



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Credited cast:
Cynthia Tapple Ph D.
Kurt O'Connor
Shannon Erdman
Dylan Hudson
Mica Hanson
Mr. Allusen
Football Player
T.J. Wilkins ...
Sebrienne Oki ...
Party Girl


When a seemingly fun party goes horribly awry, a group of teenagers must decide their fates.

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8 October 2013 (USA)  »

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A masterful expose of the sociopathic personalities being bred by modern education and its collective norms
11 October 2013 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

It may not seem like it on the surface but "Complicity" is as much about the unbalanced personalities, thought-processes, and behaviors spawned within the classrooms of high schools today as it is about the co-dependent teenagers who will go to obsessive murderous lengths to covet and perpetuate the completely unrealistic social norms they feel pressured into upholding in order to feel worthy and valid enough to deserve the approval, love, and acceptance of each other and the adults who hold their fate in their hands.

Perhaps this is nothing new but "Complicity" makes this much treaded theme even more urgently relevant. Because of the obvious and extensive examination of it in the past not leading to actions of any real social consequence it shows, more than ever, how the real victims of these horrible unchecked expectations are the teenagers and the terrible things they are capable of as a result of it.

"Complicity" is an open-ended meditation on the subtext of what survival means to teenagers as individuals and as groups in a so- called peaceful enlightened society (North America) where good grades and making nice with the right people is as important as pretending everything is "okay" and just as it should be even when it isn't because the threat of failing to meet these grotesque standards looms over their heads in the form of rejection, poverty, despair, social ostracization and isolation, persecution, and the unspoken political agreement by a system of professional cowards that once a child reaches the legal age of adulthood their welfare is no longer the legal responsibility of any representative, organization or institution in this great and free country. This means no matter how screwed up they might have become from years of conditioning from the adult world during their childhood, everything that has happened to them out of their control during that time to make them who they are, is their own liability. And usually they don't realize they are their own liability until they are old enough to realize they have no f***ing clue what they are doing, suppose to be doing, or why they are doing it. The adult world, which up until then ran everything, takes no responsibility for what happens unless it can profit or benefit in some way either financially or socially. This type of hateful "ignorance" is what passes for "innocence" nowadays in North America. "Complicity" examines this heartless self-serving mentality in the blossoming personalities of its teenage characters as survival and innocence war for the dominion of their souls. They all know what they have been taught they are not supposed to understand because their suppressed instincts in this case are much sharper than the falsified experiences forced upon them by their "know-better" education. They all know that if they don't do the right thing they risk being relegated to that awful miserable fate that many succumb to, that dismissed never-mentioned minority of failures doomed to die a slow death from the deliberately flawed and calculated system bent on making survival as hard and as unbearable as it can for them. Murder has never been so objectified, insidious and untraceable as when it complies to an accepted social standard.

This is the accepted norm nowadays. As okay as it was to segregate school by skin color fifty years ago nowadays it is okay to get away with murder as long as it uses certain means like psychological torture through cyber-bullying, shooting an innocent teenager because you are a member of a neighborhood watch committee, or decapitating and dismembering a person on a bus and then claiming that god made you do it. If there ever was a collective conscience it is definitely dormant, if not dead, and as this movie beautifully and clearly illustrates sociopathic behavior has become the norm in today's world and stresses more than ever: What makes somebody right or wrong is not how it affects somebody else either negatively or positively but whether or not they can get away with it.

A high-school party at a suburban home spirals into tragedy forcing a group of teenage friends to examine the strength of their values and what choices they will make in order to make things "right".

This sounds like typical fodder for a teenage horror movie but this is an extremely intelligent and realistic dissection of the idealistically merciless expectations put on teenagers by a callously unaware, disconnected and ignorant adult world and the effect it has on teenagers as a social group to handle real-life situations when they have to rely solely on their spoon-fed intellect because they have acquired no meaningful and worthwhile real-life experiences to draw from in order to support them in a time of crisis. This movie is definitely a horror movie in many respects but only because it presents its subject and characters with such a believable and unflinching eye. In that regard it is an incredibly detailed drama from which the horror is a side-effect of how believable it is. You've seen it before but never done this well. It is a triumph of both film making and acting that feels both successfully symbolic, insightful and realistic all at the same time. It is a film that shows the already overwhelming danger of a world that has stupidly come to value information and intellect over experience and sincerity and the devastating false edifices of integrity, character and knowledge that have resulted because of it.

You know when Allen Ginsberg's epic poem "Howl" becomes as relevant as a murder ballad for the burden of a prematurely doomed soul as much as a justification for a horrendous crime that it's time people pricked up their ears and listened.

Everyone should see this movie. How exceptionally well made it is is only surpassed by how relevant, realistic and truthful its subject matter is treated by cast and crew alike.

10 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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