The Dirties (2013)
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Critic Reviews for The Dirties
Remarkable as much for its insights as for its audacity, "The Dirties" approaches school violence with a comic veneer that slowly shades into deep darkness.
In such a cluttered cultural space, it feels so startlingly fresh, urgent, honest and real.
It is to ripped-from-the-headlines movies what The Blair Witch Project was to horror movies.
From the brink of escaping high school, to swirling into a maelstrom The Dirties is the kind of film that will ruin you, but devastate so artfully that your faith in humanity is restored.
Audience Reviews for The Dirties
The Dirties is a complex fabric of fresh insights into school violence. Written, directed, and starring Matt Johnson, the film's title character is a social outcast and an aspiring filmmaker with very little actual talent. He decides one day to up his game by planning the most sensational climax to his newest film: killing those who he calls the "dirties," which is pretty much anyone who has bullied him throughout high school. Like Gus van Sant's masterpiece Elephant, The Dirties presents a series of vague reasons that forces the viewer to reflect on what could or could not have led to the character's decision to do what he does. Sure this is a topic that has been the subject of arguably one too many films, but it is still relevant, and The Dirties is above all a character study that unravels with a dark sense of humour and realism.
The high school students all feel like real people. They can't be easily classified into archetypes, which makes for an incredibly complex film. The insights into school bullying delve into territory that last year's documentary Bully seemed a little too scared to even tread. The Dirties is a strong directorial debut that might actually inspire some deep critical thinking and could certainly warrant more than one viewing.
Although praised by Kevin Smith and others as a must-see film, I don't see anything here that hasn't been covered off by other attempts to look at the psyches of shooters in school settings. I praise the Canadians involved in putting together a low budget well executed film but it would have been better to surprise the audience.
Well written and acted, The Dirties is unfortunately dead in the water thanks to the terrible execution - the use of found footage doesn't for one moment convince (nor play by its own rules with edits and non-diegetic sound).
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