Dirt Boy

"OK"

Dirt Boy Review


Jay Frasco's feature film debut, Dirt Boy, balances contrasting tones in a manner that should lead to a bout of head scratching for most viewers. Shot on digital video, the movie's deliberate pacing and ominous mood suggest a subtle, low-budget thriller that is calculatingly setting its audience up before potently striking. But as much as Frasco wants to deliver twists and chills, the director is just as intent on tossing in copious amounts of unexpected offbeat humor. The result is predictably uneven, but the effort is commendable.

Twentysomething Matty Matthews (Jacob Lee Hedman) is a recovering New York City junkie trying to overcome the recent death of his mother. He decides to leave the Big Apple behind for the far more peaceful environs of a small Cape Cod town, Atwater Commons, to attend a six-week seminar being given by noted criminologist Dr. Ronald Klugard (Luca Bercovici). Matty takes to the road with only a handful of possessions, including a book-on-tape called Dirt Boy, which was written by Atwater Commons' own master of mystery Atwater Bridges (Arthur J. Walsh). The book details the crimes of a serial killer known as Dirt Boy, and the author's powerful prose leads Matty to do some investigation, where he soon discovers that the supposed fiction resembles reality just a bit too closely.

As his search for the real Dirt Boy grows more intense, Matty is confronted with an increasing number of obstacles. The proverbial fish-out-of-water, Matty is viewed skeptically by the locals, but is fortunately able to track down a living near-victim of Dirt Boy's; a young woman named Brook (Michelle Guthrie). Her help leads Matty ever closer to the truth, but ultimately subjects the two to enormous peril.

Dirt Boy ambitiously jars expectations and willingly laughs at its contrived plot. As the good guy who can't get a break, Matty's interaction with the almost otherworldly inhabitants of Atwater Commons has an absurdly comic sucker-punch effect. The film can take you from the grisly discovery of a corpse in a shallow grave to the authorities' bumbling, inept attempts to secure the crime scene without batting an eye.

While the laughs continue to pop up in unexpected places, the director growingly loses control of his story. The suspense never builds to a suitable climax, and the focus becomes blurred in the film's final act. Frasco obviously took delight in creating a group of eccentric characters, but they too often tend to overshadow the proceedings. The no-name cast is adequate though none of the performances are especially memorable.

Dirt Boy was clearly made on a shoestring budget, as its production values and visual style are strictly of the no-frills variety. It is nice to see a digital video movie that is constructed and composed as if it were shot on film, but the camerawork could have benefited from a bit more imagination. However, Frasco is able to make quite a bit from limited resources, and his whimsical, original voice is surely a sign of interesting things to come.

Dirt napping.



Dirt Boy

Facts and Figures

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Friday 15th June 2001

Distributed by: Vanguard

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

IMDB: 5.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: John V. Smalley

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

With virtually the same blend of wit and idiocy as the 2001 original, this fashion-scene...

A Bigger Splash Movie Review

A Bigger Splash Movie Review

Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love) reteams with Tilda Swinton for this fresh, tricky...

Deadpool Movie Review

Deadpool Movie Review

Both the filmmakers and the characters on-screen are so pleased with themselves that this might...

Trumbo Movie Review

Trumbo Movie Review

An entertaining film about sobering true events, this is the story of notorious screenwriter Dalton...

Goosebumps Movie Review

Goosebumps Movie Review

Mixing the action, comedy and horror from novelist R.L. Stein's books into a family-friendly package,...

Dad's Army Movie Review

Dad's Army Movie Review

The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little...

Spotlight Movie Review

Spotlight Movie Review

This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on...

Advertisement
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this...

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

There's nothing clever about this deliberately rude and vulgar comedy, but certain audiences will find...

The Big Short Movie Review

The Big Short Movie Review

Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using...

The 5th Wave Movie Review

The 5th Wave Movie Review

Also based on the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic teen novels, this thriller feels...

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart reteam for a sequel no one really asked for, following...

Room Movie Review

Room Movie Review

One of the most extraordinary films of the year, this drama cleverly weaves in events...

Creed Movie Review

Creed Movie Review

While this film is basically Rocky VII, it's also much more than that, and perhaps...

A Perfect Day Movie Review

A Perfect Day Movie Review

An irreverent comedy in the style of the original M.A.S.H., this wartime romp takes an...

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.