15

"Very Good"

15 Review


There have been plenty of movies about dissaffected American youth, and disaffected Japanese youth, and disaffected British youth, and disaffected Korean youth. Someday, someone will write a movie in which all these groups come together in one violent rumble to determine which country creates the most psychotic teens. (My money's on the Koreans.)

In the meantime, Singapore -- of all places -- joins the fray with 15, an energetic, scary, and ultimately sad slice of life in which five aimless teens smoke, fight, pierce each other, get tattoos, and skip school, sulking their way through steamy Singaporean afternoons talking big about brotherhood, loyalty, and gang philosophy while hurling funny insults at each other. "Your brother smells like a durian" is considered a prime putdown.

Director Roystan Tan brings a frenetic style that combines title cards, special effects, animation, and music video editing techniques to show the chaos of these young lives, and amazingly enough, he got the Singapore Film Commission to back him, only to find his film censored after it was first screened.

The five non-actor 15-year-olds Tan recruited from housing projects for his film average about 5'4" and 110 pounds, yet they see themselves as big men in a world that, like the world of Larry Clark's Kids (or Peanuts, for that matter), is almost totally devoid of adults. None of the boys has a stable family; they're always getting kicked out of their homes for one infraction or another. None spends much time in school, although their concern about an upcoming school talent show leads to several funny scenes of gang-related karaoke singing.

Basically plotless, 15's longest and most memorable scene has two of the boys helping a third as he embarks on a citywide search to find the best building from which to hurl himself in a suicide attempt the next day. Toting placards that say "I Want to Die" in Chinese characters, they head out on a whirlwind tour of Singapore, stopping to insult the color schemes or the bad feng shui of the buildings they deem unsuitable.

Given how badly behaved and obnoxious the quintet can be, their despair is touching. They cling to each other, sometimes literally, looking for anchors of friendship in an uptight conformist society they think has simply tossed them out like trash. Tan does best when he slows down and lets his camera linger on the boys' sad faces. "Men's tears are precious," says one, but their tears do fall. Despite their piercings and tattoos, these kids aren't as tough as they look.

Aka 15: The Movie.

Tiny bubbles / In the malaise.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 95 mins

In Theaters: Friday 21st October 2005

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

IMDB: 5.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Roystan Tan

Producer: Tan Fong Cheng, Eric Khoo

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

Advertisement
City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.