For the most part it's a tale of an adolescent, Trevor, who gets picked on a lot at school. Not as much as he used to, because the year before he called in a phony bomb threat, complete with a working bomb (minus anything that would actually explode). Because of this, parents and teachers are afraid of him, and his fellow students generally avoid him, except for a group of outcasts called the "Trogs". As violence by the Jocks against the Trogs escalates, Trevor is the suspect for anything gone wrong, even though he didn't necessarily do anything. One teacher is willing to give Trevor the benefit of the doubt, and casts him in a highly controversial play about (what else?) school shootings. It all comes to a head as some other students create a plan to bring guns to school and kill everyone in the cafeteria.Written by
I went back and watched this movie again, and it struck me all over just how real it feels. The performances are so perfectly spot-on that you could swear you know these people--what could have been a string of cliches or platitudes was instead carefully detailed to look like real life. I've rarely seen anything in the theater or on television that struck so very close to home. What makes it all so effective is that absolutely no one comes across as unsympathetic--not the jocks, not the outcasts, not the parents, not the teachers, not anyone. The casting was that sublime. The mains among the young cast are the most impressive group of actors and actresses I've seen in my generation. The older members of the cast are so good I can't believe I hadn't seen them somewhere before. Even the minor characters make an impression and have a bit of flesh to them. You may not like some of these people, you may be angry at them, but you will see where they went astray and understand. No one seems entirely wrong or right, and that's what makes it so unrelentingly human.
Despite having been a girl and not facing many of the physical tortures portrayed in the film, the sense of humiliation and utter isolation resonates very closely with my own grade school experience. If you weren't ever in that place, if you were popular or normal in school, you may watch this film and think the suffering within was exaggerated, that no one really goes through that... let me tell you, it's not an exaggeration. You may feel like it's normal for kids to get teased, and maybe it is... but there's a tremendous difference between getting teased by your friends and getting messed with because you're regarded by the general population as a thing. You can't make friends when everyone is afraid that hanging around you will cause them to be exposed to the kind of ridicule and torment that you're going through. You have no one to tell, your parents don't understand, you are completely alone in your world, and it feels like that will never change. Every moment of every day is spent waiting for the next gallon of gasoline to be thrown on the flames of your living hell. No, it doesn't look that bad when you're on the outside... it's just somebody getting shoved or laughed at or whispered about. But when it's you actually going through it, you end up either wanting to die or wanting to kill someone. That's exactly what this movie addresses--what leads a young person to that place. If everyone around refuses to empathize and understand, tragedy is the almost inevitable result.
39 of 44 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this