12 O'Clock Boys

Critics Consensus

Visually striking and grippingly fast-paced, 12 O'Clock Boys asks thought-provoking questions with admirable subtlety and restraint.

92%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 48

65%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,460
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12 O'Clock Boys Photos

Movie Info

A Baltimore boy named Pug idolizes a group of dirt-bike riders who raise havoc on city streets. Lacking any other significant male role models, Pug hopes to join their ranks one day.

Cast & Crew

News & Interviews for 12 O'clock Boys

Critic Reviews for 12 O'clock Boys

All Critics (48) | Top Critics (20) | Fresh (44) | Rotten (4)

  • A short, pungent, ambiguous portrait of the poorer sections of Baltimore and the young men who get their kicks riding dirt bikes through the streets en masse, popping wheelies and dodging the police.

    February 13, 2014 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

    Ty Burr

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic
  • Documentary filmmaker Lotfy Nathan explores the outlaw appeal of an inner-city Baltimore dirt-bike gang through the eyes of a 13-year-old wannabe member named Pug.

    February 10, 2014 | Rating: B | Full Review…
  • It could have romanticized its subjects, portraying them as outlaws and folk heroes. Or it could have gone the way of moral panic. To its credit, [it] does neither of these things - or, rather, it does both, in the most subtle and insightful way possible.

    January 31, 2014 | Full Review…
  • Take a closer look, as Lofty Nathan does in his freewheeling debut feature... and bike gangs like the 12 O'Clock Boys start to differentiate as more than just a dangerous nuisance.

    January 31, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • [Pug is] a fiercely individual child, but, inevitably, his predicament also symbolizes how poverty can warp a good boy's nature.

    January 31, 2014 | Rating: B | Full Review…
  • [It] spectacularizes black criminality for white middle-class viewers, the primary audience for the festivals and art houses where this film will have its career.

    January 31, 2014 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for 12 O'clock Boys

  • Feb 01, 2014
    '12 O'Clock Boys'. Tragic as both a character study and broader social commentary on what people live for in their day-to-day struggles. Dangerous escapism as seen by outsiders looking for the temporary kind is darkly ironic. Lotfy Nathan found someone special in Pug. Bright, ambitious, destined for doom. Nature nor nurture have been particularly good to him as a young boy, and it doesn't look like that cycle is stopping anytime soon for him and others in Baltimore. What's been eating away at me ever since I walked out of the theater is how much Nathan's decision to document Pug's quest drove him even further. Would he have done everything he did if a camera wasn't on him? The ending seemed particularly exploitative. You see the pursuit of power, fame and notoriety, driven all the more by social media. The film ending where it does, I'm afraid of what effects this will have on the next generation of Baltimore's 12 O'Clock Boys.
    c0up   Super Reviewer
  • May 02, 2013
    A good if slightly odd documentary. There is nothing triumphant in the expressions of urban black youth on their dirt bikes in Baltimore. They are being a pain in the ass and yet somehow they have some type of glory in the neighbourhood. The activity clearly should be just stamped out.
    John B Super Reviewer

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