Juvenile Delinquents (MA) - 133 minutes
Some wooden acting and forced scenes undermine a decent concept in the violent drama Juvenile Delinquents.
Seven kids – five guys and two girls – from hard backgrounds have spent time in juvenile detention.
They drink, talk tough and hang out together.
They share a little of their individual backgrounds.
Next thing you know, they plan to throw rocks at a house.
At the time, we – the audience – don’t realise it is the place where Sarah (Corryn Treadwell) was sexually abused.
Things quickly spiral out of control and suddenly the septet are in way over their heads.
They hatch a plan to try to extricate themselves from their invidious predicament.
Dare I say, the group of them are heading down a slippery path until the unofficial leader of the pack, Danny (Phil Blevins) determines they will become vigilantes.
By that, I mean trying to right society wrongs.
While the script by writer and director Neil Goss – based on his own book – isn’t flawless, it is certainly not without merit either.
A series of crafty surprises keeps you interested and engaged, although there are several leaps of faith required to swallow all of what is going down.
And, ultimately, the film goes on for too long (it runs a tad more than two hours and 90 minutes would have done it for me).
Juvenile Delinquents becomes bogged down in the second half.
Sorry to say that believability isn’t a key take away from this one when it comes to performances either (and I am not just talking about the leads), a number of which are – at times – cringeworthy.
It often feels like they are just delivering lines, some of which are clichéd e.g. “No Job. No Bank Account. No future.” and this: “I need to take control of my own life.”
Undoubtedly more natural performances would have aided the cause and taken away from the staged feel that is a mainstay of the piece.
To summarise then, while Juvenile Delinquents shows promise, its clunky execution and bloated script let it down.
Rated MA, it scores a 5 out of 10.