Thursday, August 20, 2015

[Review] Ten Thousand Saints

This limited release Ten Thousand Saints is a well-acted affair with an indie-friendly cast, including Ethan Hawke, Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, and Emile Hirsche.

The story revolves around teenager Jude (Butterfield) during the late '80s. Him and his best friend Teddy (Avan Jogia) are skateboarding, all black-wearing punk rockers, and they're starting to experiment with drugs. Along the way, they meet Eliza (Hailee Steinfeld), a girl with similar tastes. Jude's life is flipped when Teddy dies from a drug overdose. Afterward, his estranged father, the man-childish Les (Ethan Hawke) comes and swoops him up and takes him to live in Manhattan, where Jude befriends a group of straight-edge kids and attemptss to clean up his lifestyle, but things get complicated when he learns that Eliza is pregnant with Teddy's child.

Even though some moments don't feel as genuine as they probably want to be, there's an appealing charm here (a big part of that is due to Hawke's presence) that rings similar to a lot of serious little indie dramas that have come before this. At points in the narrative, things get pretty weird and directionless, and flaws begin to emerge. However, certain people will probably be intrigued by the views of CBGB and the band discussions--The Misfits, Dead Kennedys, and a number of hardcore acts. The film flaunts a diverse rock soundtrack, as songs like Social Distortion's "Prison Bound", R.E.M.'s "Fall On Me", and The Replacements' "Little Mascara" play during montage sequences.

The film is essentially about becoming your own person despite what the past or preconceived notions might dictate. The biggest problem is that it never rises very high above its material, and the back half settles into an underwhelming stretch. Still, if this sort of thing piques your interest in any way, it's worth checking out if you have the time.


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