When I heard about The Dirties, I wasn’t sure what to expect. A film about high school bullying and the consequences it may have combined with humor and a little Tarantino-ish mix of tribute to classic films, it seemed like an odd mash up. Add to that that director Kevin Smith has added his name to the film as his stamp of approval and I really didn’t know what to expect. After all, this is the guy who makes the best film of his career (Red State) then decides to go back to penis and fart jokes with his next film (Clerks III). The Dirties recently played for the Toronto After Dark Film Festival Spotlight Screenings and is now playing at the TIFF Lightbox Theatre in Toronto as well as other selected theatres near you.
The Dirties is the story of best friends Matt (Matthew Johnson) and Owen (Owen Williams). Matt and Owen are typical high school students, they love hanging out, watching movies and goofing around. They are also into filmmaking and are doing a project for school making a movie about getting revenge on a real life group of bullies at their school they call The Dirties. It is all make believe until Matt starts going too far and planning a movie with a slightly more real ending.
There are people who have called The Dirties one of the most important film about bullying to date, and Kevin Smith proclaims it is an important film overall. I can’t really disagree with any of them. The Dirties is a powerful film while still being entertaining. Johnson and Williams are charismatic and relatable leads as well as being sympathetic characters. Pretty much anyone who watches the film will find something in it to relate to and identify with. And when things start to go over the tipping point, it gets real and scary. Ironically enough, the budding director in the film, Matt, is the director of the actual film itself and for a director who has only made a couple of short films to date, this is one impressive feature debut. He has managed to combine found footage with faux documentary style as well as traditional storytelling to craft a unique and powerful film that must be seen. I highly recommend you seek this one out.