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An extended version of a not so funny Inbetweeners episode
The Edinburgh International Film Festival 2013 Presents:
Director Justin Edgar's 'We Are the Freaks' is a stylish 90s coming of age, comedy drama, showcasing the relationship between three friends (who are all outcasts in society for different reasons) over an eventful weekend that may shape the rest of their lives.
The film starts with a certain style and visual flare as Jamie Blackley commands the screen with charm and charisma, before he unexpectedly breaks through the 4th wall, talking directly to you, the audience, Ferris Bueller style. The opening 20 minutes is full of promise feeling both fresh and innovative as the film quickly draws you in through its lead character, Jack.
We follow Jack (Jamie Blackley) and his two oddball friends, Parsons (Mike Bailey) and Chunks (Sean Teale) on a Friday night that will change their lives.
Each of our three protagonists are misfits or as they see themselves 'Freaks' for one reason or another.
Jack who is from an underprivileged background struggles to achieve his ambitions due to his financial difficulties. The film however over his character as he awaits to hear if he has be awarded a college grant thus allowing him to attend University.
Parsons comes from a stern, claustrophobic and domineering family that have his life fully mapped out for him, regardless of his own views and ambitions. His girlfriend Claire (Rosamund Hanson) also knows what 'best' for him, which all comes to a 'head' in the second act. :P
And lastly there's Chunks (Sean Teale) the oddball, slightly insecure, eccentric, whose privileged background means he doesn't have to work and instead lives on his divorced parents guilty handouts.
We follow this trio of misfits through an eventful Friday night thats full of high-jinks, mishap and realisation.
What started with such promise slowly falls away to becoming rather generic and uninteresting. All the visual flare and creative novelties of the first 20 minutes are all but dropped. Before we even reach the end of the first act the 4th wall seems to have been rebuilt, never to come down again. The punchy repartee of dialogue in the opening sequences also seems to vanish making way for unconvincing and uninteresting word exchanges between characters, followed by throwaway gags and comedic set pieces that we have all seen before.
Michael Smiley (Kill List) offers a captivating performance as Killer Colin. His scenes are pitch perfect and offer the right balance of comedy and fear as we watch this volatile character fill the screen with great delight.
Jamie Blackley who starts strong slowly shrinks as the film progresses. Mike Bailey plays the unsuspecting comic relief, tragedy character but his performance often feels like a half baked impersonation of Will McKenzie from The Inbetweeners. Sean Teale who also starts with promise quickly becomes nothing more than an irritating one dimensional presence on screen.
By the end the film, despite its interesting moments, vibrancy and frequent skillful direction, it just seems to run out of steam. The films lack of commitment to what it's trying to say, ultimately leaves it all feeling a bit flat and essentially playing like an extended version of a not so funny Inbetweeners episode.
We Are the Freaks isn't a bad film by any means, it just frustratingly teases us with enough moments of promise, skill and quirk to know there was a far better film in there somewhere. Instead, what we get is nothing we haven't seen a million times before.
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