New Year’s Day
Trippin'. Steven and Jake (Barry and Potts) try some of the hard stuff...
dir Suri Krishnamma
scr Ralph Brown
with Andrew Lee Potts, Bobby Barry, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Jacqueline Bisset, Michael Kitchen, Anastasia Hille, Sue Johnston, Ralph Brown
release 2.Nov.01
00/UK 1h41

4 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
This coming-of-age drama examines the loss of innocence in a startlingly moving and thought-provoking way. At the centre are 17-year-old best friends: the lively, intelligent, thoughtful Jake (Potts) lives with his single mum (Hille) and two younger siblings; while the acerbic, creative, aggressive Steven (Barry) is the only child of a wealthy, power couple (Kitchen and Bisset). After Christmas they join their schoolmates for a ski trip to France, but disaster strikes, forcing them to grow up very quickly and face their own mortality. They decide to live one more year, completing a list of 12 tasks (appear on the front page of a newspaper, burn down the school, punch a cop, try drugs, etc) and then committing suicide on the next New Year's Day.

As the film gets underway we wonder how we will be able to watch these two bitter, tortured teens struggle with life and death. It's hard to like them with their self-absorption and bitter rebellions. Then we start getting under their skin and the film becomes a revelation. Potts and Barry are stunningly good at making these boys real people, funny and scary at the same time, never pathetic. We root for them to discover a way through this nightmare, even as their parents are oblivious to what they're going through, and their counsellor (the superb Jean-Baptiste) is powerless to help. And while the extended drug trip sequence is a bit over the top, there are so many additional layers to the story that we don't mind much. The transparent performances combine with Krishnamma's superb direction and Brown's insightful script to make a truly effective and haunting film that comes purely and honestly from a teenager's perspective--bright and sunny on the outside, dark and frightening on the inside, hopeless and hopeful at the same time. A real stunner.
themes, language, drugs cert 18 10.Oct.01

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... "All I can say is WOW. This movie is not just impacting but absolutely brilliant. I believe it is a must-see for all of you out there who think life sucks and you battle and suffer through each day that goes by; here's some guys with serious identity problems. However, the plot in this movie is much more complicated; it's to live your life like there's no tomorrow, and try to get out the best of it. It is a film about fate, destiny, and how we can change it." --Markos Americus, Tampico, Mexico 31.Dec.01

"It's one of the best British films I've seen for a long time, a classic combination of A Clockwork Orange, If..., and Quadrophenia. A gritty and powerful drama, with flawless performances throughout. A sometimes distressing but ultimately uplifting tale of two adolescent boys coming to terms with death and, more importantly, life. This is a film I'll keep coming back to." --TJ Hatton, England 14.Apr.02

"I think this film is brill. It was made for all them kids out there with problems. We all understand how they feel. And the actors are hot." --Emily Watson, Plymouth 25.Jun.02

© 2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall