Wasted on the Young, 2010.
Directed by Ben C. Lucas.
Starring Oliver Ackland, Adelaide Clemens and Alex Russell.
An Australian student is forced to act when the bullying cool kids at his high school leave his best friend for dead after drugging and assaulting her. However, she surprisingly comes back alive, setting in motion a downward spiral that soon goes out of control for everyone involved.
Aren’t teenagers great? Actually, I lie; no they’re not. Whilst trying to find their place in life, they’re either griping about having to deal with newfound responsibility like someone’s just asked for them to fill in a tax return an yard thick, or they’re swaggering their unearned good looks and youth to potentially impregnate anything vaguely resembling a woman within a certain radius. But yet, the reckless lives of such studly ragamuffins hardly fails to at least turn heads. After all, if things are going to go out of control in an emotional way, why not make it sexy too. Wasted on the Young is probably the most extreme film dealing with this subject.
Darren is a nerd. He’s a surprisingly hot one too, which begs to wonder why he spends so much time moping about women. It could be because his step brother is the epitome of what is wrong about the popular clique at school. Zack isn’t the best brother to Zack. For some bizarre reason, they both live with Zack’s father in what can only be described as a Hollyoaks take on the playboy mansion. A third of the film shows wild parties that make most of the nightclubs in my area look like school discos. The story moves into 3rd gear when Darren’s crush and friend, Xandrie, is at one of these parties. After getting drugged to near death by Zack’s prattish goons, she is then violated by them before getting ditched in the middle of nowhere, thought to have overdosed by Zack.
The next act turns into a slight film noir as Darren tries to track her down through social network sites and pushing the cool kids for answers. A few bully bruises later and Xandrie appears from out of the blue alive and well, which puts to question whether or not Zack and his cronies will be rumbled for the rape. The film explores the consequences of actions and how further actions can lead to a small social clique collapsing. Of course, if there were any mature adults present in their small town this wouldn’t happen. They’re mentioned, but nobody ever sees them. Not even any parents to administer clips around the ear.
Whilst dealing with a dodgy substance, the style of the film is very top shelf. The first two names to dive into my mind were Fincher and Aronofsky. Their style wafts around in a very obvious fashion, but Lucas does make his own mark with some fantastically disturbing use of surreal fantasies brought on by the characters thoughts,. One scene featured what could only be described as a stylised Columbine massacre. It was really hard to know how to feel after some of these nightmarish displays. Do we still side with the victims, or just sit on an extremely well edited fence? To be honest, I couldn’t help but side with Darren on a personal level. He’s a social outcast and at the constant mercy of extremely good looking bullies, whilst trying to further his relationship with his friend who happens to be a girl. Just brings me back to my youth *sniff*.
It’s the feeling of social isolation amongst a backdrop of sex, drugs and drum and bass. When the party music isn’t playing, it’s either piercing silence or some of the best contemporary score I’ve heard in recent film. Wasted on the Young is a fantastic piece of social commentary on an age of anguish that we’ve all no doubt gone through. It’s like if Skins was told by Brett Easton Ellis, before being stylised to buggery. Whilst the ending felt a bit rushed and without resolution, the twists in the third act had me yelling at the television. And there’s not enough films that have made me do that recently.
Wasted on the Young is released on August 15th.
Will Preston is a freelance writer from Portsmouth. He writes for various blogs (including his own website) and makes short films.
Movie Review Archive