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

New Movies

Dunkirk Movie Review

Dunkirk Movie Review

Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one...

Killing Ground Movie Review

Killing Ground Movie Review

From Australia, this dark and edgy thriller is skilfully made by writer-director Damien Power to...

City of Ghosts Movie Review

City of Ghosts Movie Review

This award-winning documentary plays like a thriller as it traces the work of a group...

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

The surprisingly thoughtful prequel trilogy comes to a powerful conclusion with this robust, dramatic thriller,...

It Comes At Night Movie Review

It Comes At Night Movie Review

This sharply original horror film not only approaches its premise from an unexpected angle, but...

Advertisement
Okja Movie Review

Okja Movie Review

As Tilda Swinton reteams with her Snowpiercer director, Korea's Bong Joon Ho, it's perhaps unsurprising...

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

This may be the third reboot of this franchise in 15 years, risking audience exhaustion,...

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Actually the fourth film in the series (don't forget the prequel Minions), this animated super-villain...

Baby Driver Movie Review

Baby Driver Movie Review

Wildly energetic and so cool it hurts, this action movie has been put together in...

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

There's a clear sense that this Tupac Shakur biopic is hoping to build on the...

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

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.