American Yearbook

"Excellent"

American Yearbook Review


Brian Ging's indie feature American Yearbook is better than it has any right to be.

Shot on video with an all amateur cast, we get a flood of movies like this at filmcritic.com every week. Ging's is the serious exception to a well-heeled rule: His is the first film in a long while that doesn't suck. Not only does it not suck, it's damn good.

Yearbook is a drama about bullying, post-Columbine. Nick Tagas (looking like a young Simon Rex) plays the slightly off-kilter lead kid named Will; he's into photography and isn't exactly a ladies' man, yet he's not a hardcore geek. Unfortunately he finds himself on the wrong end of thug Ian (Chris Ratti), a violent bully who takes his aggressions out on Will, first with a light beating and eventually with more severe attacks.

With the aid of his friend Chance (Jon Carlo Alvarez), Will obtains a gun and decides something has to be done about Ian to end the cycle of violence. But as we all know, violence begets violence, and none of this will end well.

Ging has the usual problems of shooting on video, on a low budget, and on a first feature. The sound is problematic, the characters drift toward speeches, and a few of the performers are wholly inept. But on the whole, Ging's done as much right as anyone could. His script is natural and flows well, and he does a good job with the severe limitations of the video format (with impressive camerawork by DP Dan Coplan). He's even got a pretty good original score in the mix. And he has a handle on his material -- cold.

I see a ton of movies from a ton of wannabe directors every year, but Brian Ging is one to watch.

Full disclosure: My novel Half Mast covers high school bullying in a very similar fashion as American Yearbook. So perhaps I'm biased. You still oughtta buy my book.

Picture this.



American Yearbook

Facts and Figures

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Tuesday 1st June 2004

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

IMDB: 7.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Jason F. Brown,

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