The Graffiti Artist

"Weak"

The Graffiti Artist Review


The production notes for The Graffiti Artist reveal that one of its stars, Ruben Bansie-Snellman, was discovered by Gus Van Sant. No big surprise there. Whenever you see a homeless skateboarder thrashing it in the Northwest, you have to assume that Van Sant is somehow involved.

Bansie-Snellman plays Nick, a homeless teen wandering the streets of Portland looking for blank walls on which to spray his graffiti tag: Rupture. Gathering both food and spray paint through expert shoplifting, Nick makes his way around town sullenly and wordlessly (for nearly half the film!) before he opts for a change of scenery and heads up to Seattle to see what's going on there.

What's going there turns out to be Jesse (Pepper Fajans), another graffiti-obsessed teen who apparently gets enough support from his family to afford a cheap apartment, a new skateboard every once in a while, and, of course, lots of spray paint. The two boys bond, and Nick crashes at Jesse's pad. Like a felonious version of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn they race around at night creating increasingly elaborate tags in tandem and debating the nature of art, albeit at the 17-year-old level. Nick does it as a statement of anarchy. Jesse does it so some day he can sell it, an idea which disgusts Nick. He's the type of kid who won't be crushed by the jackboot of "the system." But wait a minute, Jesse points, out, someone's gotta pay for all that stuff you shoplift. Nick is momentarily stumped.

The Graffiti Artist stumbles into more typical teen flick territory after a single night of very heavy petting between the two boys. Nick realizes he's in love, but Jesse, who actually started the makeout session, seems horrified by what's happened and immediately shuts down. The friendship is doomed, and Nick is alone on the streets once again and facing a very uncertain future.

If, like this reviewer, you view graffiti as vandalism plain and simple, you'll spend much of this film hoping that Nick and Jesse will just get thrown in jail. In order to enjoy the movie and its extended scenes of spray painting, you'll have to have a real appreciation and fondness for the "art" of graffiti and all the philosophies of the "artists" behind it.

If you don't, you'll be bored, even though the film clocks in at a short 80 minutes. Props to Bansie-Snellman for doing a great job with a part that forces him to act mainly with his eyes, but those eyes alone aren't enough to hold your interest.



The Graffiti Artist

Facts and Figures

Run time: 80 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 19th January 2006

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

IMDB: 6.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Nick, as Jesse

Also starring:

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