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

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Advertisement
Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

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.