Wasted on the Young: DVD

Monday, 29 August 2011 10:56

Written and directed by Ben C Lucas, “Wasted on the Young” comes from the Australian film industry to our shores – but don’t let that put you off.  Here we have their take on a tense high school drama, the stuff that Americans would suggest that they have cornered the market on. This takes the standard checklist of such movies, twists it and subverts it in a way which means that, at every turn, your expectations are undermined and played with.

It’s a very commanding and assured piece of direction from a first-timer who had only previously helmed a TV documentary. The stars of the movie are Oliver Ackland (Rhys in The Slap, Toby in Cloudstreet) as Darren, and Alex Russell (Hass in “Almost Kings”) as the social alpha-male step-brother Zack. It follows the disillusioned and disaffected students of an elite high school, with the two brothers occupying opposite ends of the school’s social hierarchy.

Wasted on the Young - out now on DVDBullied by all and sundry, in particular a thug called Brook (TJ Power - Leon in “Eat Pray Love”), Darren is forced to draw a line in the sand, turn and fight. His tormentors are behind the drugging and sexual assaulting of his best friend, Xandrie (the gorgeous Adelaide Clemens – Carnival Girl in “Wolverine”, Alison in Pirate Islands: The Lost Treasure of Fiji, and soon to be seen in “Mad Max: Fury Road”). After being left for dead in the middle of nowhere, Xandrie later makes a surprise return to school.

Cue embarrassed looks, and attempts by the perps to duck and dive in any way possible to avoid the consequences of their actions. It all sets off a chain reaction of events, threatening to trigger the implosion of Zack’s elitist, self-made pedestal. Soon, the brothers’ lives are at the mercy of the opinions of their disenchanted classmates, where the ‘masses’ are without a lead as to who they should support, who they should believe.

Technology has for quite a time been deemed a tool of the devil by our media and consequently wider society, but in this film it becomes a tool for justice, even if it is probably on the wrong side of retribution. Darren’s smarts in the area of ‘social media’, which has meant he’s been an outcast for having a skills set (often termed ‘geek’ by anyone jealous of someone with genuine ability) is the key to flushing out the evil doers, and exposing the truth to the wider school incumbents.

Many reviewers have noted the lack of parental intervention throughout the movie, which is missing the point. How many parents actually really KNOW what their kids are doing when out and about?  For instance, how many know whether their offspring were rioting and looting a few weeks’ ago in the UK? Teenagers protect their worlds from the prying eyes of those older than them, and anyone who approaches a ‘senior’ for help will in that action itself will find themselves an outcast – it’s been the key to why peer pressure has been so successful for centuries.

Produced by Janelle Landers and Aidan O’Bryan, “Wasted on the Young” is surprisingly entertaining, if difficult at times to watch – but they always say that good drama should always at some point make you feel uncomfortable.  The twists and turns at the end are unexpected, and the ending is open-ended enough to allow for your own interpretations of what actually happened.

“Wasted on the Young” is out now from Momentum Pictures.  It has a running time of 93 minutes approx, a ‘15’ certificate, and a RRP of £12.99, or get it for less at www.culttvstore.com

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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