Out Of Control

Out Of Control


Reviewed by: Gator MacReady

Reality is grim in council housing estates. Most people are uneducated and stick to gangs in order to survive. The only code is the code of the street. The law and decent society take no part in their lives. In a world where no one cares, it's hard for teenagers to turn into law-abiding citizens. Drugs are an easy escape and readily available. Who needs work when you can get high?

As upsetting as this may seem, it is the logic of misguided teens in most of Britain's large cities. In Edinburgh, they are called 'neds'. You may know them as 'schemies'. The type who wear garish shell suits - no matter how much you pray, they never catch fire - silly caps, peach fuzz moustaches and overly practised hard man walks. They are a living joke. A healthy spell in borstal might do them good, you say. Or perhaps not.

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Our first character is Dean, a quiet but naïve 15-year-old, who is devoted to his mother. He's been in trouble before, but is determined to stay on the right track. His ratty friend Charlie tries to get his attention to go out and cause grief, but Dean's mum (Tamzin Outhwaite) is having none of it. All too soon, Charlie (Bronson Webb) steals a car and convinces Dean to go joyriding. Only Dean is busted. And goes to the slammer. The junior slammer.

There, he is joined by new boys Danny (Akemnji Ndifornyan) and Sam (Leo Gregory). Danny was only an accomplice to Sam's armed robbery and desperately wants a better life when he leaves. Sam, on the other hand, is possibly the worst human specimen ever. God forbid that aliens kidnap someone like this and judge our whole species on him. We'd be wiped out.

Sam is definitely a waste of life. His own dad says so. Doesn't that prove it? His face is thinner than a sheet of paper and he's a hopeless junkie. Pale, sickly and haggard. You'd shoot him, if you had a gun.

Simply put, things don't exactly go well at borstal. Scene after scene of gut wrenching realism fill out the movie. It's awful, yet is so well directed and acted that you can't take your eyes off it, no matter how much you want to. You find yourself laughing at stuff that isn't funny, only because you cannot think of any other way to express what the film makes you feel.

You would never find middle-class kids in a place like this. With money, comes respect and opportunity. And for the underclass, the way out is long and hard. If you can make it through redemption and find enough strength, you might make a better person of yourself.

I found this to be the film's main message. There are three ways borstal can turn out for young thugs and the central characters go down each of these roads. It's not pretty, it's not fair and only occasionally pays off.

In 90 minutes, the appropriately named Dominic Savage explores many areas of the waster culture, while providing enough insight to turn us off such people. We must live the lives we are born into.

Out Of Control is a grim, brutal look into how such logic can go wrong. Recommended to everyone. Except "neds".

Reviewed on: 23 Aug 2002
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Gritty drama about boys in borstal.

Director: Dominic Savage

Writer: Dominic Savage

Starring: Tamzin Outhwaite, David Morrissey, Jamie Foreman, Frank Harper, Danny Young, Leo Gregory, Akemnji Ndifornyan

Year: 2002

Runtime: 90 minutes

Country: UK


EIFF 2002

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