Posted: 01/27/2010

 

SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL REVIEWS - TWELVE

by Paul Fischer




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Director Joel Schumacher
Screenwriter Jordan Melamed, based on the novel by Nick McDonell
Cast Chace Crawford, Emma Roberts, Rory Culkin, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Kiefer Sutherland, Ellen Barkin
Producer Ted Field, Charlie Corwin, Bob Salerno, Jordan Melamed, Christophe Riandee, Sidonie Dumas
Cinematographer Steven Fierberg

Another Sundance another self-important diatribe into the dangers of drug taking by the rich. Based on an apparently critically acclaimed novel by Nick McDonell, written when he was only 17 years old, Twelve explores privileged urban adolescence on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Set over spring break, the story follows White Mike, a kid with unlimited potential, who has dropped out of his senior year of high school and sells drugs to his rich, spoiled peers. When his cousin is brutally murdered in an east Harlem project, and his best friend is arrested for the crime, White Mike has to start coming to terms with his own destiny. It seems as though a film festival needs legitimacy when it premieres a film full of its own self-importance, and this innocuous, simplistic and overdone movie seems to be so out of touch with the needs of contemporary film audiences. Schumacher has made his share of interesting films, but this is not one of them. He tends to over direct, which is the case here, but its large collage of characters, including White Mike, have no opportunity for any real growth, that one ceases to care about whatever predictable tragedies unfold. All but one are spoiled rich kids who lead a superficial lifestyle that is a maze of sex and drugs.

One is never made aware of any real motivations, and the film ultimately becomes a rambling mess. Even at about 100 minutes, Twelve [the title refers to a drug concoction that is a hybrid of cocaine and ecstasy], seems overlong, with its confusing and disjointed narrative and myriad of loser characters who have no redeeming qualities. An example of cinema of the excess, Twelve is unlikely to get a theatrical release, because depressing, meaningless film about dour drug dealers and their spoiled rich victims, have little place in the modern movie theatre.

Paul Fischer is originally from Australia. Now he is an interviewer and film critic living in Hollywood.



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