It is pretty difficult for me to construct a view of this film that isn’t completely influenced by bias. Sure, film is a subjective experience, but I feel a little bit like films such as this one are “cheating” (for lack of a better word) by depicting a point in time that hits so close to me. I don’t intend to turn this into an essay about myself, but I finished my last year of high school in May and I can’t help but feel some sort of connection with a story about a group of friends who are unsure how they move on to adulthood. This kind of narrative isn’t particularly new, but what is, is the way filmmaker Jesper Ganslandt presents the story.
Unfortunately for Ganslandt’s sake, the images are captured with a ugly DV camera. It’s hard to criticize a filmmaker when he is using everything within his means, but the fact remains that despite his best attempts, Ganslandt’s film looks pretty ugly. “Best attempts” just means focused shots of plants, setting suns reflecting in the lens, and a few other key elements from the Terrence Malick school of filmmaking. Some sequences come close to being legitimately beautiful, but there’s just as many that are overwhelmingly ugly.
The other fault in Ganslandt’s otherwise poignant cinematic universe, is the rather unnecessary dramatic turn that occurs in the second half of the film. I won’t give it away, but needless to say, the shift from plotless philosophy to sheer melodrama is a very bumpy one and Ganslandt never really recovers. So there’s two really big problems with this film from a “objective” (or maybe just technical) standpoint, but everything else is wonderful.
A majority of the movie is a group of friends goofing around and reflecting on one of the biggest and most important turnings points in their lives. Throw in some 8mm footage (echoes of Korine’s debut masterpiece) and poetic voiceovers and you got a very personal cinematic experience. It’s difficult to say why this film works, other than repeating the fact that I can completely relate to these characters, but it does. I’m a little hesitant to call it a masterpiece because of the aformentioned faults, but it most certainly is one of the most emotionally accurate films I’ve ever seen. One just has to take that for what it’s worth.