Are you sick of Australian movies just being about normal blokes in suburbia? What if we add ghosts ‘n stuff!?
Corey (Toby Wallace) and his douchebag friends spend their high school graduation smoking, drinking and bullying school outcast, Jonah (Gulliver McGrath). Later that night Corey finds Jonah, and out of guilt he walks him home, initiating a surreal trip of memories and regrets.
The two boy’s time together is plagued with absurdity. Spooky houses, creeping shadows and a man in a white suit have no clear relevance to anything. The actor’s stilted line delivery is somewhat forgivable since they’re working with pretentious lines like “there’s worse things than falling”, but the odd imagery and Jonah talking like he hopped out of Lewis Carroll’s head creates a foggy story that is constantly uninviting.
The strangeness of the journey is only matched by the boy’s chemistry which arbitrarily fluctuates as Jonah acts snarky then pitiable before switching back. It’s only when Corey interacts with his friend, Jango (Justin Holborow), that Boys In The Trees shows some sparks. They share a sincere, movie-saving final scene and all their interactions are bursting with energy. Justin play Jango with such confident menace that it’s believable he may end up having a life as grim as the Star Wars character of the same name.
Everyone else, however, doesn’t get enough screen time to show much personality, including Corey’s wannabe girlfriend, Romany (Mitzi Ruhlmann), and his downtrodden father (Terence Crawford).
There was a complete failure to amalgamate three separate stories of Halloween scares, childhood reminiscence and a teenager standing up for himself, and with too much attention focused on pseudo-symbolic moments, the film is never scary, nostalgic or empowering. With a narrative as messy as it is vague and a plot twist too heavily hinted at to be surprising, Boys In The Trees isn’t worth anyone’s time.
Boys in the Trees is available in Australian cinemas from October 20
Image courtesy of Mushroom Pictures