Sunday, February 23, 2014

[Review] 12 O'Clock Boys (Documentary)

Some say they terrorize the city, others say it's a positive form of escapism. 12 O'Clock Boys is a gripping look into an expanding group of dirt bike enthusiasts who ride through the city streets of West Baltimore, often performing dangerous stunts. The meaning of the "12 O'Clock" tag is gracefully revealed as the film opens, and it's better to see it than have it explained.

Pug, a wide-eyed runt with a big personality is the film's central protagonist. "I've been on this earth for a decade and a couple years, so what that makes me? I'm a grown-ass man!" he proclaims. Pug dreams of joining the 12 O'Clock Boys one day. It means absolutely everything to him.

The documentary is brilliantly layered, working as a glimpse into an interesting subculture, a portrait of West Baltimore and its socio-economic issues, and a story of a young kid trying to find his way though it all. The visuals are beautifully rendered, from the slow-motion stunt sequences to the sunny day color pallet. It's briskly paced and the frenetic editing entrances, intently capturing the active neighborhoods.

Director Lotfy Nathan refrains from biases and doesn't attempt to make any grand statements. Everything in front of the camera, whether it be a line of dialogue or a broader incident, subtly keys into to various outlooks. Check this one out if you can.

Recommended Doc

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