Director: Larry Clark.
Writers : Jim Schutze (book Bully A True Story of High School Revenge) David McKenna (screenplay)
Starring: Brad Renfro (RIP), Nick Stahl, Bijou Phillips, Michael Pitt, Leo Fitzpatrick. USA. 1h 55m.
Are the kids are ok! Everything is ok.. This film was recommended to me by Andy “the video shop guy” and I guess it’s safe to assume that after being a customer for so many years he knew my addiction to disturbing movies and this was a good call (thanks dude). It wasn’t until halfway through the movie that I actually realised who the director is and instantly saw the connection between this and Another Day in Paradise (1998) and could see Larry Clark has a hard on for naive teenagers…. oh matron!
The film starts out with a packed punch and continues to throw them until the bitter end. From the beginning Marty Puccio (Brad Renfro) is under constant pressure, both physical and mental from the overpowering asshole Bobby Kent (Nick Stahl) who despite his small stature; seems to have a power over the impressionable Marty. The “violence” is better described and short, sharp and disgusting, Marty is often punched in the face and wears his battle bruises like a battered wife. He meets a young girl who becomes deeply attached to him and intends on protecting him from his bully/best friend using any means and hatches a plan with a self proclaimed hit man to kill the asshole Bobby.
It’s 4am … do you know where your kids are?
Disassociated, is a word that I like to use to describe the atmosphere here, it’s a hot summer but everything seems to cold, there are tons of people around but due to the secretary everyone seems isolated.
Like a dank emotional teen opera this re enactment of real events is buttered up to help it slide down, while the events are shocking and the interactions nightmarish the immature way in which the often doped up conclude events and the abject pathetic nature of the group can easily been seen as being comical and that elevates the film from being overbearing with the violence and stark nature of the cinematography. It’s two very dark stories, one of a group of kids being bullied by a prick who is possibly acting out of hate of his father but on top of that, the ease of which they group together to plot to murder this individual, instead of finding the strength and mental power to get out of the situation in any other way, it’s also a little freaky, especially when you see how spaced out most of these kids are.
The movie is based on real events, and the director seems distant from the fact, showing absolutely no respect or sympathy towards the individuals which in unusual when someone spends so much time and effort on a story like this, but he’s managed to create a bit of a masterpiece that I come back to time and time again. It’s brutal and tough reflection on the events, in an almost voyeuristic way, often camera seem to be hidden in the corner of rooms, peering in.
A magnified cynical look at a shocking true story, Larry Clark really digs deep to uncover the grime in this story and parades it around like a head on a spike.
R – Another day in paradise (1998), Gummo (1997), Bully (2011)
L – Best Bullies on Film, Dark Teen Flicks, Selected Revenge Films,
A – Analysis of Hit films – how normal people become hit men…
5S – Larry Clark, Michael Pitt, Nick Stahl
Post Discussion – To Come