“The Dirties” A Brief Film Review

I’m not going to think about this too much. One can probably write a dissertation about what’s wrong with this film. First of all, before I decide to watch a movie on Netflix, I usually head to the user reviews. The most popular reviews noted that this movie was “…extremely funny…”, “…sheds light on bullying…”, “…dark…”, “…really tells a story and true events on what can happen when bullied….”.

 

Let’s start with the last quote. “…really tells a story and true events…” Did anyone else notice the incongruity of the juxtaposition of those two phrases? Story vs true events? And yet, I am not surprised. Because, it is never clear whether this is an actual “story” or “real,” as in a documentary, maybe? Maybe that’s intentional, however. But plausibility keeps rearing its ugly head throughout this movie. And rather than leading you towards thoughtful insights while doing so, for me, at least, it was incredibly annoying. Let’s continue then with the rest of that clause: “…on what can happen when bullied…” This movie has very little to do with bullying, and to suggest that it does, is totally misleading, or maybe just misinformation on the part of the reviewer of what constitutes a bully. The director and lead actor, however, Matt Johnson, provides an excellent portrayal of a clever, brash, socially and economically privileged, obnoxious guy, who violates the privacy of others by secretly recording them on camera, and continually berating his only friend, Owen Williams. So who is the bully? Is Johnson the bully, or the shots of Johnson being “bullied” by stereotypical looking jock-types or socially upward gang-bangers? Johnson, however, is brilliant in creating this visceral antipathy towards his character from the start.

 

Like I said, someone can write a dissertation on what is wrong about this film. And who knows what that overall conclusion would be. Brilliant? Depends on who you are. Once around was enough for me though.

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