Coming to theatres this Friday from director Matthew Johnson, Phase 4 Films and the Kevin Smith Movie Club is a look at schools whose students become THE DIRTIES.
This film tells the story of Matt (Matthew Johnson) and his friend Owen) Owen Williams, two students who stand out in high school but not in a good way. Both young men are into making short films about things that interest them. Now, in their 12th grade video class they get the idea to make THE DIRTIES.
A film about two detectives trying to get rid of a renegade gang, both think the movie will be epic. What they get is an epic denial from their teacher who won’t approve them showing the film because of the language and violence. Showing a cleaner version the class turns on the boys.
This isn’t the first time as the class bully’s are relentless, on this day in particular. Now, Owen and Matt come up with the new film idea that one takes more seriously than the other. As Owen finally gets the attention of Chrissy (Krista Madison), Matt becomes obsessed with the idea of a kill-board starring those who have bullied them both.
When the friendship fractures the filming begins!
FINAL WORD: Johnson as Matthew is not only in the film but is also the director/writer/producer and editor – and we are tired? That’s an amazing feat for this young man who has won the RBC Audience Choice Award in the TIFF emerging filmmaker competition.
His performance is filled with comedy and immense stress which is hard for any actor to do yet Johnson makes it look easy. Not resting he has produced BLOOD PRESSURE, a thriller along with FELINE and THE ORIGINALS.
Williams as Owen is looking for life outside of humiliation. His secret crush on Krissy seems to be the one thing that holds him together. His shyness mixed in with the insecurities of a young man about to graduate are all here. The boyhood friendship with Matt is important but watching Owen’s character mentally mature the fracture becomes clearer.
Phase 4 Films which can be found at www.phase4films.com is responsible for such films as THE BAYTOWN OUTLAWS, GENERATION UM with Keanu Reeves and the upcoming releases THE CRASH REEL and FREE RIDE with Anna Pacquin.
Other cast include: Brandon Wickens as Jackman, Jay McCarrol as Mr. Bird, Josh Boles as Boozy, Shailene Garnett as Krissy B., Alen Delain as Alan, and Paul Daniel Ayotte as Laren.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give THE DIRTIES four tubs of popcorn out of five. What an amazingly talented and sad film to be sure. There is such a disconnect that happens here between these friends and for the viewer it becomes so painful to watch. The bullying is so difficult to watch but when seeing the reaction of Matt and Owen it almost seems there is another bullying happening – between these two friends.
Brilliantly filmed, well performed and with a theme that is very sensitive but necessary to be talked about. This film gives an insight from the other side, as it were, and the perspective of these boys and when an idea goes astray.
These two performers seriously move me because they managed to pull off something extraordinary here. Watching this film felt like being a voyeur into something special that didn’t know how to stay special. Toward the end of the film it was heartbreaking to see where the story took me yet every part of my being had to see it through. Well done, well done indeed!
In the end – lights, camera, reaction!
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