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

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

The 2003 comedy Bad Santa is a holiday classic that skilfully mixes gross-out humour with...

Allied Movie Review

Allied Movie Review

There's a terrific script at the heart of this World War II thriller, with a...

A United Kingdom Movie Review

A United Kingdom Movie Review

Based on a powerful true story from the late 1940s, this drama is packed with...

Indignation Movie Review

Indignation Movie Review

Philip Roth's layered novels are a challenge for filmmakers (see also 2003's The Human Stain...

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

It's been five years since the last Harry Potter movie, and J.K. Rowling has been...

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Yet another bonkers thriller starring Nicolas Cage, this trashy crime comedy comes from director Paul...

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

"Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall" is a DVD...

Advertisement
Arrival Movie Review

Arrival Movie Review

This sci-fi drama has an enjoyably brain-bending plot that leaves the audience almost stunned with...

Elle Movie Review

Elle Movie Review

There's a boldly comical tone to this outrageous thriller that can't help but unnerve audiences...

100 Streets Movie Review

100 Streets Movie Review

A multi-strand drama set in London, this film is very nicely shot and acted, but...

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

It's been seven years since designer Tom Ford made a splash with his award-winning writing-directing...

The Light Between Oceans Movie Review

The Light Between Oceans Movie Review

With a sweeping, picturesque setting and emotive performances, this dramatic epic will appeal to moviegoers...

The Accountant Movie Review

The Accountant Movie Review

While this slick dramatic thriller plays with some intriguing ideas and themes, it never actually...

Train to Busan Movie Review

Train to Busan Movie Review

Leave it to the Koreans to reinvent the zombie horror movie and put a high-speed...

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.