Jamesy Boy

"Good"

Jamesy Boy Review


While this true prison drama is sharply shot and acted, there isn't a moment we haven't seen before. Instead of drawing out the uniqueness of the real events, the filmmakers rely on the usual stereotypes, which leaves this feeling more like a run-of-the-mill TV movie. But there's a very strong narrative buried in here, and some terrific performances underneath the preachy melodrama.

The title character is 14-year-old James (Lofranco), who has been in trouble with the law since he was 6. Abused as a child, he has a long and violent criminal record, and since he's been labelled as a "bad" kid he knows he'll never get a chance to achieve anything at his new high school. His mother (Parker) tries her best, but he still ends up hanging out with druggy Crystal (Salazar) and her gangster friend Roc (Trotter). For James, a life of crime seems more useful than going to school, so he begins working for Roc, only barely managing to avoid arrest and death. Then he meets local shop girl Sarah (Farmiga), who gives him a reason to rethink his life.

This plot is intercut with a parallel story of James in prison three years later, so we know what's going to happen. Of course, the thing that put him behind bars is the oldest cliche in the book: he does one last job for Roc before going straight for Sarah. This intercut half of the film is even darker, as James moves between warring with a rival inmate (Gomez) to clashing with the hard-headed warden (Woods) to resisting the advice of a Shawshank-like guru (Rhames) to trying to help a doomed newbie (Rosenfield).

All of these characters are nicely played, but director White constantly undermines scenes by shying away from the truth and adding elements simply because they help push the plot rather than because they have a basis in fact. And the cross-cutting structure removes any suspense. That said, there's some strong resonance in James' odyssey. He's a smart kid who makes bad decisions, so the fact that society has labelled him a waste of space feels deeply unfair. So even if his climactic, fervent "what I learned" speech feels more than a little forced, we know that kids like James aren't the real problem.



Jamesy Boy

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 109 mins

In Theaters: Friday 3rd January 2014

Distributed by: Xlrator Media

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 26%
Fresh: 5 Rotten: 14

IMDB: 6.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Trevor White

Producer: Scott Mednick, Maria Norman, Wayne Rogers, Steven P. Saeta, Galen Walker, Tim White

Starring: as James, as Tracy, as Lt. Falton, as Conrad, as Sarah, Rosa Salazar as Crystal, Michael Trotter as Roc, Ben Rosenfield as Chris, as Guillermo

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.