Bully
Surf's up. The gang hits the beach before things start turning nasty...
dir Larry Clark
scr Zachary Long, Roger Pullis
with Brad Renfro, Rachel Miner, Nick Stahl, Bijou Phillips, Michael Pitt, Kelli Garner, Daniel Franzes, Leo Fitzpatrick, Larry Clark, Deborah Smith Ford, Nathalie Paulding
release US 13.Jul.01; UK 1.Mar.02
Lions Gate
01/US 1h41

4 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
Larry Clark has an astonishing way of getting into the minds of teenagers (Kids, Another Day in Paradise); this film is a seriously disturbing examination of adolescent morality in white middle class suburbia. It's about a group of teens who barely know each other, conspiring to commit murder simply because they can't be bothered to think of any other alternative. And it's a true story. Marty (Renfro) is a nice guy who is very easily led--by both his best friend Bobby (Stahl) and his new girlfriend Lisa (Miner). The problem is that Lisa doesn't like the way Bobby pushes Marty around--among other things--and she hatches a murder plan, drawing in her buddy Ali (Phillips) and her friends (Pitt and Swaller) who haven't even met Bobby.

There's a seriously authentic teen vibe at work here--we really feel the setting, both in the place (sleepy Miami suburbs) and in the family situations (concerned parents who don't have a clue). The interaction is startlingly realistic--although perhaps the teens are a bit too wild sexually, it's not beyond the realms of possibility. There are heavy shades of Boys Don't Cry as the story gets more and more intense, leading to the tragic true conclusion. As it progresses we get a bit frustrated at the blind stupidity of these teens--surely they must have a cue what they are planning; they're not stupid! And the adults (and Clark himself) are somewhat preachy at the end. But the point needs to be made. And parents should see this film, no matter how difficult it is to watch.
very strong themes and situations, language, violence, drugs cert 18tbc 5.Nov.01 lff

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... "I liked it ... the full four-star monty. One of the great murder movies, I think, along with In Cold Blood, At Close Range, River's Edge and The Onion Field." --Ian Waldron-Mantgani, UK 4.Mar.02
2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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