I’m sure that I did a few stupid things as a teenager. But never did I think that I was above the law due to my age. That fact probably kept me out of more trouble than most. I was mostly a goody-two-shoes, didn’t drink, didn’t smoke (what did ya do?), but I can still identify with the search for the unattainable that our protagonists go for in THE YOUNG OFFENDERS, now playing in Fantastic Fest 2016.
Two Irish junior high students head off on a quest for a bale of cocaine under the misguided idea that they’ll avoid trouble due to being young offenders. Bike thefts, an obsessed police officer, and a falsely imprisoned bully all stand in their way. Not to mention their own thinking, or lack thereof.
The writing in general. It is a smart and fast paced script about two unbelievably thick boys. It keeps things at a frenetic pace, like a Guy Ritchie or Danny Boyle film, without over stepping the fact that our protagonists aren’t even in high school yet.
“Mom had me when she was 16. Which was old for our neighborhood.”
While Conor is our narrator throughout the adventures, his character and that of the narrator show two different levels of intelligence. Given the fact that it is told from the perspective of the past, which is only briefly hinted at the beginning, we can assume he has learned from hindsight. But if missing that crucial point, the difference is glaring.
“Ignorance really is bliss. And right now, we had shit loads of it.”
WHY SHOULD YOU SEE THE YOUNG OFFENDERS?:
This film made me laugh throughout it’s entirety. On my second viewing even. It is full of wit amongst the witless. You can’t help falling for the two leads, Conor and Jock, loving them for their ignorance rather than in spite of it, much like Conor’s mother.
For playing at Fantastic Fest, I expected the story to be pretty out there. Instead, I got a hilarious and still sweet coming of age comedy about a bromance.
If you want something that is like THE INBETWEENERS meets STAND BY ME, then check out THE YOUNG OFFENDERS. Sure, we don’t get a dead body at the end, but there is plenty of bonding, laughs, and violence, with just a smidge of gross out humor along the way.
Conor Macsweeney: Alex Murphy (his debut)
Jock Murphy: Chris Walley (his debut)
Mairead MacSweeney: Hilary Rose (BEAT GIRL, “The Republic of Telly”)
Sergeant Healy: Dominic MacHale (RONANISM)
Billy Murphy: Shane Casey (THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY)
Director: Peter Foott (“The Centre”, “The Republic of Telly”)
Writer: Peter Foott (“The Centre”, “The Republic of Telly”)