Film Review: Here Are The Young Men

Review By Frances Winston

Directed by Eoin C Macken –  Starring: Dean-Charles Chapman, Finn Cole, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Travis Fimmel, Conleth Hill

Available on VOD Now!

A TV famous cast bring this movie about teenage angst and toxic masculinity to life.

Like all good coming of age stories, the tale kicks off with the graduation of the main characters, Matthew (Chapman), Kearney (Cole) and Rez (Walsh-Peelo) who celebrate by trashing their teacher’s car. And it’s all downhill from there, as they soon witness a young girl being hit by a car, and dying in front of them. This is something that we are obviously supposed to associate as a triggering factor in the characters’ future behaviour. Unfortunately, the scene itself isn’t that affecting, and the characters were not well-established enough beforehand for the audience to notice any discernible changes to their temperament.

Kearney is the loose cannon of the trio, who travels to America to spend some time with his brother. We don’t actually see his holiday – instead we are treated to many trippy fantasy sequences, of a Jerry Springer-style show with a creepy host, played by Travis Fimmel, in which Kearney is the featured guest. This trope is somewhat overused though, and by the time he has returned to Ireland the fantasy has permeated his life, it has become somewhat annoying.

Token female, Jen (Taylor-Joy) serves as the love interest for Matthew, and also the object of creepy lust for Kearney, who tries to force himself on her at a party, leading to a showdown between the friends.

Kudos must also go to Taylor-Joy for her Irish accent – Emily Blunt should take notes from her.

Meanwhile, Rez is the sensitive drug-addict, who attempts suicide, as he is unable to cope with the world. So far so clichéd. But all teen movies tend to have a cast of stereotypes. What elevates them from OK to great is how they manage to capture the zeitgeist of the time. Unfortunately, this doesn’t really seem to succeed there, and much of the film is of the characters getting wasted in clubs, while realising that outside of the school environment, they don’t have that much in common.

The cast give good performances, but the story is predictable, and has been done much better elsewhere. It doesn’t seem to know its target audience, and stylistically, it very much relies on the hallucinogens the group take to inform what we see on screen.

It’s OK, but not as affecting or involving as it should be, and at times feels sluggish.

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