Writer/director Michael Burke said he wanted to tell a story about growing up as a kid too sensitive for a harsh environment (rural Vermont). Now I've never thought of Vermont is "harsh," but God knows I hope Burke's life as a youth didn't include being raped by his friend in a barn and molesting a chicken. Pity Emile Hirsch's Duncan Mudge, who is trying to get his life back together after the death of his mother. Cold dad (Richard Jenkins) is no help, sending Duncan to look for companionship in the guise of the local hoods who ride around in a pickup. Sadly, despite a few graphic and disturbing events, nothing much happens to Duncan -- at least nothing which could be considered a "story." When the credits rolled, I was shocked by the state of disarray the plot had been left in. (Unsurprisingly, the script came out of a Sundance workshop.)
Acclaimed, but why? Fresh is the nickname of the prototypical urban street punk (Sean Nelson), who runs drugs for the local hoods when he isn't busy attending dogfights, witnessing murders, visiting his prostitute sister, or playing chess with his homeless father in the park. Presumably, we are meant to sympathize with Fresh because he's a chess player, and hence an intellectual, but when he launches his plan to turn the tables on his drug bosses, it's hard to rally behind him. Extremely disturbing and unnecessarily violent, Fresh plays like Spike Lee for Dummies.